Indonesia’s rich diversity extends beyond the people, culture, and ethnicity. The sprawling archipelago is also home to a myriad of wildlife that will fascinate anyone. From birds to primates, discover awesome native animals you can only see in Indonesia.
The Komodo Dragon
There are many ways to describe this peculiar species found in the exotic islands of Komodo, Rinca, Padar, and Flores in Indonesia. Some observe the measurements and conclude it is the tallest and biggest lizard in the world at three meters long. Others focus on the evolution of this dragon, labeling the Komodo as one of dinosaurs’ close relatives and the oldest ancient species still living today. It’s safe to venture off the Komodo Islands to spot one of these carnivorous lizards while enjoying the picturesque landscape of the exotic islands, just make sure you learn the safety rules thoroughly.
Sumatran tigers are distinguishable from their relatives by their darker fur color with a stronger contrast of orange to reddish brown and black stripes. They are also known for being the smallest tiger sub-species, but not any less ferocious. The populations of Sumatran tigers are scattered across the island of Sumatra, typically in deep forests and national parks, but sadly their population is rapidly declining due to habitat loss and illegal trade.
This adorable primate with large black eyes and almost human-like manners is the prima donna of Indonesia’s lush and extensive forest. Tourists can’t get over how exotic and precious these friendly creatures are, hanging about the trees or feeding their infants. Unfortunately, deforestation has led to the endangerment of this species, so if encountering orangutan is something you’d be interested in, you might as well volunteer to help build and rehabilitate their habitat. That’s much more meaningful and interactive than observing them from outside the rails of a zoo.
Sulawesi is home to thriving wildlife, especially a myriad of endemic birds. Even so, the Maleo birds still set themselves apart for many reasons. First, there are the bizarre physical features, with turkey-like body structures, cheery tail, a bleak black body feather, peach belly, and a curiously more colorful head and casque. Then there are the peculiar manners that make observing these birds so pleasing — their swift foot movements and nesting habits are truly captivating.
In the Indonesian language, the name of this species is composite of pig (babi), and deer (rusa). And that’s one valid way to describe this striking creature. At a glance, the babirusa looks like an odd jumble of a pig’s head and deer’s legs, and savage tusks. Babirusas do belong to the pig family, but their deer-like features extend to the physical and even digestive systems, making this species so fascinating to observe. Babirusa can be spotted in North Sulawesi and some of the areas nearby islands.
Often described as midget buffalo, Anoa’s physique resembles a scaled-down water buffalo, with a hint of a deer in its appearance. Different species of Anoa live in the mountain and lowlands, typically in lush rainforests of Sulawesi, Indonesia. With two sharp backward-facing horns, the world’s smallest buffalo is a fascinating creature to observe. Unfortunately, locals are increasingly hunting Anoas for their meat, pushing them onto the dreaded endangered list.
Cendrawasih is an endemic species that belongs to the family of birds-of-paradise. These majestic, vibrantly colorful birds can be found in Papua, the easternmost island of Indonesia. These birds, especially the males, have very ornate and delicate feathers with bright inviting colors and long tails that hang gracefully from their bodies. Cendrawasih can have multiple mixes of colors, from yellow, brown, red and orange, to different hues of blues and violets.