Endangered Species in Indonesia

Asian golden cat

Indonesia the fourth most populous country in the world and with its amazing nature is a popular destination for tourists. Its breathtaking beaches and impressive shrines leave no man indifferent. Unfortunately, there is the dark side to this story of a beautiful country – the endangered species in Indonesia.


Indonesia has the greatest biological diversity in Asia.  A vast mosaic of 13,667 islands, Indonesia links two biogeographic regions known as the Sunda subregion, an area stretching from southern Burma and Thailand south to northern Indonesia and Borneo, with Oceania to the south and east.  The political boundaries of Indonesia have little to do with ecosystems or ethnic cultures.  The giant island of Borneo, for example, has been divided among several Asian countries. Indonesia claims the southern twothirds, known as Kalimantan, while Malaysia rules two states in the north and west, Sabah and Sarawak, and the small independent country of Brunei lies on the northwestern coast.  Likewise, New Guinea, whose Melanesian tribes have inhabited the island for thousands of years, has been divided between Indonesia, which rules with a strong military presence in the western half, Irian Jaya, and Papua New Guinea in the east, an independent nation.  Politically, Indonesia has been in turmoil for decades, with a series of presidents who have grown rich on foreign aid and siphoning off profits from exploitation of timber, oil and minerals. [1]

Endangered Species in Indonesia

Southeast Asia, which includes Indonesia, has the highest relative rate of deforestation of any major tropical region, and could lose three quarters of its original forests by 2100 and up to 42% of its biodiversity. Here, we report on the current state of its biota and highlight the primary drivers of the threat of extinction now faced by much of the unique and rich fauna and flora of the region. Furthermore, the known impacts on the biodiversity of Southeast Asia are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, owing to the paucity of research data. The looming Southeast Asian biodiversity disaster demands immediate and definitive actions, yet such measures continue to be constrained by socioeconomic factors, including poverty and lack of infrastructure. Any realistic solution will need to involve a multidisciplinary strategy, including political, socioeconomic and scientific input, in which all major stakeholders (government, non-government, national and international organizations) must participate.[2]

Asian golden catIndonesia is famous for its great biodiversity. It is estimated that as many as 300,000 animal species are inhabit its many ecosystems. This equates to 17% of worldwide fauna species, these across only 1.3% of the world’s landmass. With 515 species, Indonesia has more species of mammal than any other nation. There are 1539 bird species and 50% of all the world’s fish species can be found in its marine and freshwater systems.
However, Indonesia also has the most endangered species. The World Conservation Union (IUCN, 2003) lists as endangered 147 mammals, 114 birds, 91 fish and 2b invertebrate species. Major conservation efforts are vital if these species are not to become extinct in the near future.
Trade in wild animals is a serious threat to many species in Indonesia. Over 95% of animals sold in markets are taken directly from the wild and not from captive breeding stocks. More than 20% of animals sold at market die in transportation. Despite this, many endangered and protected species are traded freely, with the rarer species commanding higher prices.[3]

The Endangered Species:

Although Indonesia contains Asia’s most extensive tropical rainforests, the nation has lost 26 percent of its primary forest since the 1990s. Wildlife struggles to find habitat in the face of logging, mining and agriculture, especially oil-palm plantations. The following species are among the best-known endangered ones:
On Kalimantan and Sumatra, three subspecies of agile gibbons suffer decline due to habitat loss. Siamang gibbons struggle for habitat and are taken from the wild to be sold as pets.
Asian Golden Cat
Named for its shiny reddish-brown coat, Sumatra’s Asian, or Temmnick’s, golden cat hunts for habitat while it is hunted for its fur.
Indonesia’s islands house a hippopotamus relative, the babirusa, though it looks more like a pig. It is hunted for meat and often shot by farmers if raiding their fields.
Javan Rhinoceros
With only 60 left, the Javan rhinoceros is one of the most endangered animals on Earth. Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park protects the species.
Wondiwoi Tree Kangaroo
Wondiwoi tree kangaroo are critically endangered and might already be extinct. No one has reported a sighting in recent years. Hunting has been the primary source of their decline.[4]


All the information mentioned above are more than alarming. Indonesian government together with its scientists and inhabitants has to join in the efforts to save Indonesian flora and fauna. A huge responsibility lies on their back as the destruction of their nature could also have a significant influence on whole world’s environment.


[1] http://www.endangeredspecieshandbook.org/forest_indonesia.php
[2] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534704002666
[3] http://www.profauna.org/content/en/indonesian_animal_facts.html
[4] http://www.ehow.com/facts_5584897_endangered-animals-indonesia.html

Cite this article:
Ivanovic J (2011-08-30 00:00:18). Endangered Species in Indonesia. Australian Science. Retrieved: May 24, 2024, from http://ozscience.com/environmental-science/endangered-species-in-indonesia/