Ujung Kulon National Park (World Heritage)

Ujung Kulon National Park (World Heritage)

The 1240 km² large protected area extends over the Ujung Kulon peninsula, the islands of Handeulum, Peucang and Panatian as well as the nature reserve Krakatau, Anak Krakatau and several islands. It protects the largest lowland rainforest found on Java and is the habitat of the endangered Java rhinoceros and numerous other animals. The landscape is strongly influenced by volcanism, the eruption of the Krakatau volcano in 1883 is considered to be one of the largest eruptions in recent centuries. The ash, which rose to a height of 80 km, was distributed over the entire earth.

Ujung Kulon National Park: Facts

Official title: Ujung Kulon National Park (Java) with Anak Krakatao volcano
Natural monument: Ujung Kulon peninsula with the islands of Handeuleum, Peucang and Panaitan – placed under protection since 1958 – as well as the Krakatoa nature reserve, which has existed since 1921, consisting of Anak Krakatau and the islands of Rakata, Panjang and SOTT with the surrounding coral reefs; Ujung Kulon National Park 1205.51 km² and Krakatau nature reserve 25 km²
Continent: Asia
Country: Indonesia, Southwest Java; see ehistorylib
Location: southwest of Jakarta and Labuan
Appointment: 1991
Meaning: Largest lowland rainforest on Java and habitat of the endangered Java rhinoceros as well as a “study object” for volcanism
Flora and fauna: after the Krakatau eruptions in 1883, 1952, 1992 and 1994 only about 50% of the former primary lowland rainforest was preserved; about 50-60 Java rhinos and about 700 Banteng, also small mongoose, binturong, silver gibbon, crested langur, muntjac, small kantschil, mane deer; over 270 species of birds such as bankiva and fork-tailed grouse, reef and sumatra heron, ribbon eagle and osprey, Brahmin Weih and small frigate bird; Reptile species such as tiger python as well as sunda gavial and estuarine crocodile; In the Krakatau nature reserve there are 40 species of birds such as black-necked pigeon pigeon, red pigeon, beetle pigeon and yellow-bellied bulbul

Rhinos on the ashes

It happened on August 27, 1883, around ten o’clock in the morning: An explosion on the island of Krakatau in the Sunda Strait blew up the volcanoes Perbuatan and Danan and the northern half of the 830-meter-high Rakata. The bang was so loud that hours later it could still be heard in Ceylon and in interior Australia. The pressure waves went around the earth seven times. And the ash clouds plunged the entire region into darkness for two and a half days. More than 21 cubic kilometers of rock and ash were thrown up to 80 kilometers high into the atmosphere. Then the emptied magma chamber, located 300 meters below sea level, collapsed into a caldera, a basin-shaped burglary boiler. The falling water, hitting the glowing rock, evaporated in violent explosions, which triggered spring tides up to 36 meters high. The largest of these tidal waves reached the coasts of Java and Sumatra just 30 minutes after the main explosion. Over 36,000 people died in the floods or under ash and lava.

Of the original 33 square kilometer island, 90 percent fell into the caldera. Fresh magma, however, had enlarged the remainder to ten square kilometers – covered with a layer of ash and pumice stone up to 70 meters thick. The neighboring islands of Slung and Panjang had taken on a completely different shape, and a little further away completely new islands had emerged.

Geologically, everything remained in flux: the new islands disappeared again within a few years, while volcanic activity continued underwater until, on January 26, 1928, in the middle of the caldera Anak Krakatau, the “child of Krakatau”, appeared, a new crater that meanwhile has a height of around 400 meters and is still growing.

All life on the archipelago around Krakatau was extinguished. It took five years before it began to settle again. Anak Krakatau turned out to be a particular stroke of luck for science, as it was there that it was possible to observe how plants and animals colonized new soil.

As a result of the eruption of 1883, the Ujung Kulon peninsula located south of the volcano and only connected to Java by a narrow land bridge – “western tip” – as well as the offshore islands were also devastated by spring tides and covered with ash and dust. After a while, plants and animals also returned here, including the endangered unicorned Java rhinoceros, of which no more than 60 animals survive in the national park. In 1980 the peninsula was proposed as a national park together with the Gunung Honje mountain range, which is up to 620 meters high, east of the swampy isthmus, with the islands of Peucang, Panaitan and the Krakatau volcanic islands and was formally established twelve years later.

In the parts of the protected area that are almost completely left to nature, the last larger flatland forests of Java extend with their typical ficus and eugenia species. In addition to the Java rhinoceros, in the national park you will find the Banteng, an aggressive wild cattle that lives in the middle of the dense jungle and of which there are probably still 700 specimens. The long-tailed macaque, which climbs, jumps, runs, swims and dives for crabs and crabs, and the silver gibbon, which “flies” up to 13 meters from top to top by using the speed of bent branches, also found refuge here like the doe-sized muntjac or bell deer, which owes its name to its loud reputation. The undergrowth-rich forest edges are the territory of the rabbit-sized Kleinkantschil, who is one of the deer piglets and is also called “mouse deer” in English-speaking countries because of its small body size. Among the birds, in addition to the predominantly green-feathered green peacock, the Bankiva chicken is to be mentioned, which is the sole parent form of all domestic chicken breeds. Reptiles such as the giant saltwater crocodile and green turtle deserve special mention, whose eggs are unfortunately not completely safe in front of the saucepan.

Ujung Kulon National Park (World Heritage)