Indonesia has the greatest biological diversity in Asia, with its emerald rainforests and impressive coral reefs. It is estimated that almost 300,000 animal species inhabit the many ecosystems that can be found across the country. However, Indonesia is also home to some of the world’s most endangered species. Trade in wild animals is extremely popular with over 95% of animals sold in markets being taken from the wild, so if you’re considering moving to Indonesia, it is important to look out for this trade.
Asian Golden Cat
Not much is known about this species of wild cat and they are generally found in Western Indonesia, notably Sumatra. They tend to prefer to establish their territories in forest areas and can be found in anything from dry forests to tropical rainforests or on open terrain. With deforestation being the main threat for these medium-sized wild cats, and hunting for their pelt and bones, the Asian Golden Cats have become extremely endangered. Their meat is also considered a delicacy and they can also be hunted if they enter small villages to prey on poultry, sheep and goats.
The babirusa is a relative of the hippo and is generally found in the swamps and rainforests of Indonesian islands. They have a remarkable prehistoric appearance due to the notable appearance of the males’ tusks. Although they are meant to be a protected species and poaching is deemed illegal in most cases, hunting still remains a significant threat to the animal. Due to their tusks, they have inspired the creation of demonic masks and are sometimes used as a gift to present to visitors in Indonesia. In addition to hunting, habitat loss is another key threat through commercial logging operations that reduce cover and expose the animals to hunters.
Wondiwoi Tree Kangaroo
These small marsupials inhabit tropical rainforests in Indonesia and are bold and agile in the trees. However, Wondiwoi tree kangaroos have suffered severe reductions in numbers and they are thought to be possibly extinct as there hasn’t been a report of one seen in the wild for a number of years. The two major threats that Wondiwoi tree kangaroos suffer are hunting and habitat loss. These animals have been hunted for food by small communities and villages and their much of their habitat has been reduced for logging and timber or to be converted into fields for coffee, rice or wheat production.
The Sumatran tiger is a rare species of tiger that has been listed as critically endangered since 2008. It inhabits only Sumatra, and it is the smallest subspecies of tiger in the world with males growing to barely 2.5 metres in length. With the extinction of the Javan tiger and the Bali tiger, it is believed that the Sumatran tiger will be the next subspecies of tiger to go extinct due to poaching, deforestation. Despite increased efforts in tiger conservation in Indonesia, there is still a huge market on the island and the rest of Asia for tiger parts. Despite strengthening law enforcement on the poaching of tigers, they practice shows no sign of decline, as their bones are used for traditional medicines and for their meat and skin. Some cultures believe that eating a part of a tiger would mean that a person absorbs some of its strength and courage so hunting still remains a popular, traditional practice.
This king of the lizards can only be found in Indonesia, on islands such as the Island of Komodo, Rinca, Padar, Flores and more. They are the largest species of lizard in the world and are said to have inspired the original ‘King Kong’ film after the producer visited Komodo Island. Despite being a protected species, numbers of komodo dragons have diminished year on year due to illegal hunting, wildfires and lack of food.
Indonesia is a stunning country offering some of the rarest animals in the world in a huge bio-diverse environment of jungles, rainforests, mountains and more. If you’re interested in how you can help the local efforts to conserve any of these endangered animals, make sure to ask a member of our team during your orientation in Indonesia, or speak to a member of our team in Jakarta today.