Among the must-see animals in Indonesia, let's start with orangutans, whose name literally translates to "man of the forest". If your trip takes you into the jungles of Sumatra or Borneo, here's what awaits you ... Great apes measuring up to 1m40, and weighing up to 80 kg! Clinging to the branches, their natural habitat, they will look at your amazed faces peacefully. Or a little less if they are hungry! You can observe them in several centers and national parks such as Kutai National Park, Gunung Leuser or Tanjung Puting.
During your trip to Indonesia, you will have the opportunity to meet many other monkey species. Among them, the different species of macaques which vary from Borneo to Sumatra and Sulawesi. Another monkey present in these same islands is the tarsier. This small animal measures no more than fifteen centimeters and is difficult to locate despite being easily recognizable with its large eyes and long feet. In Sumatra too, you can find the Thomas leaf monkey or the Lar gibbon, also known as the white-handed gibbon.
Venturing into this archipelago is sometimes like going back in time. For this kind of experience, nothing beats the Komodo National Park where you can observe the fascinating Komodo dragon which has walked this earth for approximately four million years. Measuring up to 3 meters and weighing 90 kg, they are ferocious and have attacked humans in the past – so be careful! And respectful – natives of Komodo Island believe that these dragons are the reincarnation of the elders of the island. It is estimated that their population is around 5,500 individuals. Discovered in 1910 and now threatened, the largest species of monitor lizard is present on Komodo Island, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami and is one of the most astonishing animals in Indonesia.
During your trip to Indonesia, you will probably meet them after dark, nestled under the ceiling of your villa or drinking in your pool. Despite their bad reputation, bats will not hurt you and are among the most peaceful animals in Indonesia. On the contrary, these animals eat mosquitoes and other pests. Indonesia is also home to the flying fox, sometimes called the fox bat, which can reach up to 1.5 meters wingspan! They are found in the cave of Goa Lawah in Bali where they are considered sacred and also on the islands of Komodo, Sumatra, or Flores.
The numerous seas of the archipelago have some of the richest biodiversity in the world! One of the most spectacular marine species you can discover while in Indonesia is the majestic manta ray. Manta, means "cover" in Spanish - indeed, depending on the species, they can measure up to 8 meters of wingspan! You can see these animals in Indonesia off the coast of the islands of Komodo, Nusa Penida and Sulawesi to name a few. Since 2014, Indonesia has officially been made their sanctuary. The goal? To ensure the protection of these animals and boost eco-tourism.
Indonesian seas also host four of the eight species of sea turtles: the leatherback turtle, the hawksbill turtle, the green turtle and the olive ridley turtle. These animals are visible everywhere in Indonesia, especially in the region of Kalimantan, the islands of Bunaken in Sulawesi, and also in the turquoise waters of Gili Islands, located between Bali and Lombok. While some beaches in the archipelago are popular places for turtles to lay their eggs, predators and the illegal collection of these eggs endanger the future of the latter.
Geckos are everywhere! Walls, ceilings, lamps and behind furniture – they are one of the animals in Indonesia that you will encounter the most.. Easily frightened, these lizards will always escape you. You might also cross paths with the big, very colorful gecko that is also called tokay, because of the loud cry it makes. The smaller ones or cicak are rarely more than a dozen centimetres long. Big or small, do not hunt them - In Indonesia, these animals are considered sacred and bring good luck. And most importantly, they eat mosquitoes!
Asian elephants are found in Indonesia in their natural habitat in Sumatra and Borneo. The pachyderms present in the north of Borneo are part of a subspecies of Asian elephants called "pygmy elephants". A name that can be explained by their small size. In Sumatra, the best place to observe them is the Way Kambas National Park. In the Tangkahan jungle, the inhabitants have become eco-warriors and patrol the forests to protect them from poachers.
Meet these animals in the wild during a dive or boat trip. The preferred places to see them are Borneo, Sumatra, Raja Ampat, Sipadan or Lovina in the early morning. In Nusa Lembogan for example, a pod of dolphins can cross your view as you gaze calmly at the sunset. Several species can be observed in Indonesia and among them, the rare Irrawaddy dolphin which can be found in the waters of East Kalimantan.
These animals are the largest living fish on earth! They can reach 20 meters long and weigh up to 34 tons. If you plan to visit Indonesia, you may encounter a smaller, but equally impressive specimen. Swimming with their mouth open to eat plankton and seaweed, these animals are not aggressive at all! Adults are found in lagoons and along coral reefs like Cenderawasih Bay or off Menjangan Island for example.
With more than 17,000 islands in the country, there is more than enough marine life to please all divers. All the underwater species in Indonesia would total up to 3,000 different species! In addition to whale sharks, dolphins, turtles and rays, you will also find the famous and mysterious Mola Mola or "moon fish" in the waters of Bali! Other animals found in the seas of Indonesia are seahorses, octopus, ringed eels and scorpion fish to name a few. Not to mention the nudibranchs so much sought after by divers.
Indonesia has more than 1,500 species of birds. Among the most emblematic species of the region, there is first that which is poetically called the bird of paradise. There are about 40 bird of paradise subspecies in Southeast Asia. To be sure to see them, do not hesitate to visit the many bird parks of the archipelago. Other birds that you can see during your stay that are just as exceptional are: the cockatoo, the oriole, the toucan and its incredible beak and the Sulawesi hornbill, to name a few.
Deforestation of natural habitat for palm oil plantations, poaching and conflict with humans are all reasons that threaten the survival of some endemic species of animals in Indonesia. Among the critically endangered animals are, for example, Sumatran tigers. After the disappearance of the tigers of Bali and Java, fewer than 400 specimens still live in the wild. The Java Panthers, meanwhile, have seen 90% of their natural habitat destroyed and are today in conflict with men. Meanwhile, it is estimated that less than 80 rhinos remain on the island of Sumatra, where a sanctuary is dedicated to them to prevent their extinction.