Top 40 Endangered Animals in Indonesia
Indonesia is a large archipelago, with regional area of 1.990.250 km2. It located between two continents (Asia and Australia), and two oceans (Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean). Zoogeographically, Indonesia is divided by Wallace line. Then, the line divides Indonesia into west side (oriental region, Indo-malayan sub region) and east side (Australian region, Austro-malayan sub region). This line lays between Borneo and Sulawesi Islands on the north, Bali and Lombok Islands on the south.
On the other hand, this line is based on the types of animals on the islands. The west side includes Sumatra, Java, and Borneo (Kalimantan) and small islets around them. The east side includes Sulawesi, Papua, Sumbawa, Flores, and all the islets around them. Animals that live in west side have similarities with continental Asian animals, while those which live in the east side have similarities with Australian animals.
However, some of these animals are facing extinction because of extensive poaching, animal trades, and shrinkage of habitats due to deforestation. Therefore, Indonesian governments want to protect them, thus they make a list of Indonesian endangered animals. There are several endangered animals in Indonesia.
In addition, compare with other tigers, the sumatran tiger males has average length around 230 cm from muzzle to the end of tail, with the average weight around 140 kg, and average height around 60 cm.
While, the females are much smaller, with average length around 195 cm from muzzle to the end of tail, and average weight around 91 kg. Like any other tigers, they are excellent swimmers.
2. Javan Leopard
This leopard has 2 color variations, the bright one (orange with black-silver spots) and black with vague spots. The black color is the result of the recessive gene. In West Java, the black leopards are more common than the bright one, thus the people call them “macan kumbang”. This leopard is the identity of West Java.
Compared with other leopards, Javan leopard is the smallest. They are solitaire, unless in breeding season. they are nocturnal, hunting in night time. Like other leopards, they like to bring their prey up on the tree. They are also excellent swimmers.
3. Orang Utan
Indonesia Orangutan are arboreal apes, living on the trees. They feed primarily on fruits. Orang utans are known to be one of most intelligent apes. They can use objects as tools for building nests.
Adult males have large cheek-flaps, to show dominance to other males. Adult males are around 136 cm tall and 75 kg weigh, while adult females are around 115 cm tall and 37 kg weight.
Since 1960, they are critically endangered. Today there are estimated less than 5000 individuals. Anoa is often poached for its skin, horns and meat. On the other hand, Since 1986, Anoa recorded as one of endangered animals. Nowadays, there are less than 5000 Anoas which still survived in their habitats.
5. Indian Tapir
Then, Indian Tapir also has claws. There are 4 claws on each front leg and 3 claws on each back leg, to climb steep places. This kind of tapirs don’t have good sight, but their hearing and smelling are excellent.
Meanwhile, Tapirs are herbivores. They are eating leaves and tubers. They move slowly in the forest, but they can flee rapidly when they sense any threats.
As well as they like to stay near water, and they are excellent swimmers. Tapirs are crepuscular, means they are mostly active in dusk and sunset.
6. Javan and Sumatran Rhinoceros
Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is the only Asian rhinoceros which has 2 horns. It is known as “hairy rhinoceros”, due to its hairy skin. Sumatran rhinoceros are easier to be studied than Javan rhinoceros.
On the other hand, in the past, Sumatran rhinoceros ever lived in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Southern China, and South-east Asia. But now it faces extinction in many of those places, leaving only 6 populations of this rhinoceros: 4 in Sumatra, 1 in Malayan peninsula, and 1 in Kalimantan.
Moreover, both of rhinoceroses are critically endangered, since there are many poaching and habitat destruction for making palm fields. Poachers are killing this rhinoceros because of its horn, since traditional medicine experts believes that the horn can cure diseases. So, Most of them aim its horn for their own needs in order to maintain their health without taking concern about Rhinoceros existence.
7. Sumatran Elephants
Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) is an Asian elephant sub-species which only can be found on Sumatra and Kalimantan Islands.
Sumatran elephants are smaller than Indian elephants. Sumatran elephants are the biggest land-dwelling mammals in Indonesia. The elephants weight around 6 tons and shoulder height is around 3,5 meters. In captivity, they can reach 60 years old age. Today there are many deforestation for making palm fields.
In 2000, the population in the wild is only 200-2700 individuals. The fast population declining is because there are many poachers looking for the tusks, and also habitat destruction.
8. Sun Bear
Sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) belongs to family Ursidae, and is the smallest of all bear species. This bear is the distinctive fauna of Bengkulu province (Sumatra) and the mascot of Balikpapan town (Kalimantan).
The body length is around 1,4 m and shoulder height around 70 cm. The weigh is around 50-65 kg. Its fur are short and shiny, mostly black or dark brown. Then, the eyes are brown or dark blue, the snout is big but short. In the neck, there’s half-circle marking with light-orange color, which believed by the locals as “sunrise marking”. As well as their claws are long and sharp.
Then, the Sun Bear is omnivorous, eating almost anything, from leaves, fruits, insects, honeycombs and small animals. They are nocturnal, foraging at night time. They are solitary animals. Their threats are poachers and habitat destruction. Poachers are looking for its skin and gall bladder. While habitat destruction includes forest fires which occurs every year in Sumatra and deforestation for making palm fields.
9. Mahakam Dolphins
Mahakam dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) is a freshwater-dwelling dolphins, a subspecies of Irrawaddy river dolphins. In 2007, the population is only 50 individuals.
However in 2012, the population is growing, with 92 individuals. There are only 3 population of Irrawaddy dolphins in the world. Such as Mahakam river, Mekong river, and Irrawaddy river.
They are carnivorous, eating smaller fish and shrimps. The head is round, with grey body. The dorsal fins are small and round. It has no beak. It also use ultrasonic communication like their relatives in the sea.
Nowadays, Mahakam dolphins are facing the extinction because of habitat destructions, for example river erosion and silting, increased boat numbers around Mahakam estuary, also because they have to compete with fishermen for foods.
See also: Indonesian traditional transportation
10. Manta Rays
Indonesia is also a habitat of Oceanic Manta rays (Manta birrostris) and Coral Manta rays (Manta alfredi). They can be found on all sea of eastern side of Indonesia.
They are the biggest ray fish. Manta rays looks almost the same with their other ray fish relatives in broad chest fins and whip-like tails. The tails are shorter than any ray fish, and they don’t sting. Manta rays also have bigger brain volume than their shark and ray fish relatives, making them more intelligent. The distinctive feature are are a pair of “horns” near the mouth.
The horns are actually cephalic fins, helping to take plankton-rich water into the mouth. Manta rays are endangered because of excessive fishing and destruction of corals.
Dugong (Dugong dugong) is a sea-dwelling mammals, included in the family Sirenia or sea-cow. It is the only herbivorous sea-dwelling mammals.
Most of Dugongs live on the west side of Indonesia and northern Australia. It needs large foraging area, shallow and calm water. Dugongs rely primarily on sea grass, making them never really go far away from their birthplace. Then, for thousands years, Dugongs are hunted for their meat and fat. The habitat destruction also make the population decreases rapidly.
Moreover, fishermen activities can harm them. The threats include storms, parasites, and predators such as sharks, and saltwater crocodiles.
Sharks are the apex predators, and they play important role in keeping balanced sea-ecosystems. Since 2014, Indonesian governments protect 6 species of endangered sharks and 2 species of manta rays. There are 4 species of endangered sharks live in Indonesia. Such as:
- Sawfish ( Pristis spp).
- Whale shark (Rhincodon typus).
- Oceanic white-tip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus).
- Scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini).
Nowadays, shark populations are declining rapidly because of excessive fishing. As well as there are high demands of shark fins from Asian restaurants. The governments regulate trades of sharks as the key to protect these fundamental species.
13. Whales and Dolphins
Indonesia protects all Cetacean family, the whales and dolphins. This is because Indonesia follows the suggestion of CITES and IUCN, taking part of international sea-ecosystem conservations.
Located between 2 oceans (Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean), Indonesia becomes home and migrating routes of whales and dolphins. Nowadays whales populations decrease rapidly because of excessive commercial and sport hunting. The dolphins are declining too because of excessive fishing, making their foods more scarce and they have to compete with human for foods.
Some ethnic group in Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, makes whale hunting as their cultural activity. The tradition still uses traditional tools, but it contributes to the declining of whales populations.
14. Sea Turtles
Sea turtles are also endangered animals. This is because of egg poaching and predators such as sharks, monitor lizards (eating the eggs), eagles (eating newborn turtles).
Meanwhile, Indonesia is the nesting place of 4 species of sea turtles. Such as hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), flatback sea turtle (Natator depressus), Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), and loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta).
On the other hand, in order to keep the existence of sea turtles in their habitats, there are some sea conservation was done. Some foreign of NGO (Non Government Organization) are working with BKSDA (National natural resources conservation department) to preserve and increase the sea turtle population.
15. Cendrawasih (bird of paradise)
Cendrawasih (Paradisaea spp) is 7 species of birds native to East side of Indonesia, Torres strait islets, Papua New Guinea, and Eastern Australia. The male birds have beautiful distinctive feathers, long and complex, growing from the head, beaks, wings and tails.
The birds, according to their species, have various size, from 50 grams weight to 430 grams. The most known of this species is Yellow Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea apoda). On the other hand, Indigenous people often use the feathers in their traditional clothes.
Moreover, In 18-19 century AD, the feather is important for making women’s hats in Europe. Nevertheless, poaching for feathers of Cendrawasih as well as their habitat destruction for mining industry make the population decline rapidly. Nowadays, the birds are protected worldwide, and hunting is only allowed for traditional uses.
16. Javan Hawk Eagle
Javan eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi) is an endemic bird of Java island. This bird is also called Garuda, Indonesia’s national emblem.
Javan eagle is a medium-to-big bird, around 60-70 cm long. The head is reddish brown, with crests pointing upward (2-4 pieces of feather). The back and wings are brown, eyes’ iris are yellow or brown, with yellowish legs.
Today this bird is critically endangered. There are estimated to be only 137-188 pairs of bird in the wild. This is because of continuous habitat destruction and exploitation by irresponsible people.
Parrots can be found in the wild in eastern Indonesia, around Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Papua.
These birds consists of 3 families: cockatoo, lories and New Zealand parrots. The ones that can be found in Indonesia are cockatoo and lories.
Nowadays, the existence of this birds face extinction into big crisis because of excessive poaching and animal trades. In animal trade alone, only one-fifth of the poached bird would live safely with their owners.
On ther other hand, endangered cockatoos in Indonesia are 5 species: cook cockatoo (Cacatua galerita), yellow-crested cockatoo(C.sulphurea), Tanimbar cockatoo(C.coffini), Maluku Cockatoo(C.moluccensis), and the most endangered one, King cockatoo(Probosciger aterrimus).
Meanwhile, the lories are the black-capped lory (Lorius lory), ornate lorikeet (Trichoglossus ornathus), Kabare lory(Psittirichas fulgidus), and Talaud lory (Eos histrio).
18. Maluku Maleo Bird
Maluku Maleo bird (Eulipoa wallacei) is the smallest of all maleo bird, with the length around 31 cm, and the only living species of genus Eulipoa.
Then, the bird had brown-olive colored feathers, the skin around the face is light yellow, eyes’ iris are brown, dark legs, greyish-yellow beak, ventral feathers are darkblue-grey, and white tail.
On the other hand, Nowadays, the population of this fascinating birds are only found in mountain forests of Maluku and Misool island in West Papua. The bird lays eggs at night.
In addition, the bird makes nest in opened sandy area, and usually around volcanoes and areas where there are geothermals. The bird faces extinction because of deforestation.
Hornbills (bucerotidae) are a kind of birds which has distinctive beak. The beak has horn-like form, but without any circle. Then, its usually has bright color. On the other hand, Hornbills are divided into 14 genus and 57 species. While, 9 of the species are endemic to Africa, and 13 species are endemic to Indonesia.
These birds are omnivorous, eating fruits, bats, lizards, insects, mice and small snakes. The male and female birds work together to make nests and raise the chicks. However, nowadyas, the population of Hornbill is declining rapidly because of habitat destruction and poaching for their beaks.
20. Komodo Dragons
Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis), are the biggest living lizards on earth. They are native to Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Gili Dasami islands in Nusa Tenggara (known as Lesser Sunda Islands). They can reach 3 meters long and more than 136 kg weigh.
They are carnivorous, eating carrions, deer, pigs, buffalo and humans. They even show cannibalistic behaviour by eating smaller dragons. Dragon’s saliva is venomous, making the victim who escape the bite will die of blood poisoning. The dragons also have shark-like teeth to bite its prey.
The population is stable, around 3000-5000 individuals. The endangered status is given because the population is concentrated only in Lesser Sunda Islands, death of egg-laying females, poaching, destroyed habitat, and natural disasters.
Binturong (Arctictis binturong) is a big civet cat. It is also called Malay Civet Cat, Asian Bearcat, Palawan Bear Cat, or simply Bear cat.
The “bear cat” name is probably given because this black carnivorous mammal looks like a bear with long tail, and has long whiskers like cat.
On the other hand, the length between head and body is 60-95 cm, while the tail is 50-90 cm long. The weight is between 6-20 kg. Then, it tails can be used to grab tree branches (prehensile tail).
See also :
In addition, Binturong is poached to take its thick-furred skin, and to use its body parts as folk medicine. Deforestation also make the population decline. This animal is protected by Indonesian governments.
Tarsius is the smallest primate in the world. There are 9 species of tarsius in the world; 2 species in the Phillipines and 7 species in Sulawesi, Indonesia. The most known one in Indonesia is Tarsius tarsier and Tarsius pumilus (pygmy tarsius). All species of tarsius are endangered and protected by Indonesian governments.
Tarsius tarsier has body length of 10-15 cm and weight around 80 grams. The pygmy tarsius is only 93-98 mm long and 57 grams weigh. The tails are 197-205 mm. They also have heads that can be turned 180 degree to left and right.
On the other hand, they are nocturnal animals. They are carnivorous, eating insects, small reptiles and bats. However, the population is declining rapidly because of deforestation, and hunted by human. Moreover, many native young men like to consume Tarsius with alcohol. Tarsius are also difficult to be bred outside of its habitat. They are known to do self-mutilating because of stress in confinement.
Babirusa (Babyrousa babirussa), also called deer-pig, only can be found around Sulawesi and Maluku. Their habitat is tropical forest.
They are omnivorous, but mostly eat plants, fruits and mushrooms. They only forage at night to avoid predators. They are often hunted for the meat, or simply killed because they destroy human’s plantations and fields.
Meanwhile, the body length is 87-106 cm, the shoulder height is 65-80 cm, and the weight can reach 90 kg. They live in small groups with an alpha male as a leader.
The population is declining, now there only estimated around 4000 individuals, and they are only exist in Indonesia. They have been protected by IUCN and CITES since 1996.
Muntjac, or barking deer (kijang in Indonesian) are the relatives of deer which are included in genus Muntiacus. Barking deer are from Old World and regarded as the oldest type of deer.
They have been exist since 15-35 million years ago, with the remaining of Miocene era found in France and Germany. Today, barking deer only can be found in South Asia and South-east Asia, from India, Srilanka, Indochina, to Indonesia. Some species were introduce to England and now they can be found easily there. Barking deer don’t have breeding season and they can breed anytime.
Mouse-deer is a name for a group of mammals in genus Tragulus. They are close relatives to deers, but much smaller. Their body is just as big as a rabbit. They inhabit tropical rainy forest in South-east Asia, included Indonesia.
They are the smallest ungulates in the world. They look like a deer, but much smaller, without antlers.
The legs are slender with ached back. The body length is around 195-300 mm, and the back legs are around 110-150 mm long.
they are endangered because they are hunted excessively for their meat, and trapped and killed because they destroy vegetable fields.
The green peacocks (Pavo muticus), also known as Javan peacock, can rarely be found today. They are native to South-east Asia. The bird, especially the males, are very beautiful and elegant, with colorful markings on its “train” (long feather tail). This makes everybody who looks at the bird wants to have them. Moreover, this bird is critically endangered, and it is protected by governments. The bird lives in tropical forest. They are omnivorous, eating seeds, grass, leaves, insects, worms and small lizards.
Banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) is a tree-dwelling mammals native to mountain regions of Sumatra, Kalimantan, West Java and Malayan Peninsula. They are 71 cm long and 5 kg weigh. They are carnivorous, their diet consists of rodents, birds, lizards, and insects. Like any other endangered animals, they are endangered because of poaching and habitat loss.
Bawean deer (Axis kuhlii) are deers that only can be found on Bawean Island, in the middle of Java Sea. This species is critically endangered, with population in the wild only 300 individuals. They live in small groups consists of does and her fawns or bucks that follows the does for breeding. They are nocturnal, foraging at night.
The shoulder height of a buck is 60-70 cm, the tail is 20 cm long. The body length from head to tail is 140 cm. The bucks have antler around 25-47 cm long.
Bear-possum (Ailurops ursinus) is an endemic marsupial in eastern Indonesia. The body length is 56 cm, while its tail length 54 cm and maximum weight 8 kg. They have prehensile tail, which can grab tree branches. They are critically endangered because in 1999, they were only seen 7 times in Sulawesi trans route.
Javan gibbon (Hylobates moloch) is a primate belonged to family Hylobatidae. Their population only 1000-2000 individuals in the wild. Then, this monkey is the most endangered gibbon in the world. The Javan gibbons is endemic in West Java. They live in small family group, consists of a pair of monogamous parents and their youngs.
Langurs are old world monkey classified in genus Trachypithecus. Langurs are dispersed in 2 area: Sout-east Asia (southwest of India, Southern China, Kalimantan, and Bali) and South India (Southern India and Sri Lanka). Langrus have slender body and long tail. The fur color is different according to species, from black, grey, to golden yellow.
In addition, Langurs have body length (head to tail) around 40-80 cm, weighing around 5-15 kg. The males are bigger than females.
On the other hand, they live in rainy forest, leaping from one tree to another. Then, they are diurnal, most active both of mornings and afternoons. In addition, they are herbivores, eating mainly leaves, fruits and flowers. As well as others, they are being endangered because of habitat loss, poaching and animal trading.
Tree cangaroo (Dendrolagus spp) is a macro-pod that adapts to arboreal life. They live in rainy forests of Austalia and Papua. Even though most of them live in the mountains, there are a few species living in lowland, such as Dendrolagus spadix. Meanwhile, there are 12 species of tree kangaroos. They have variations of colors and size. The body length is around 41-77 cm, tail length is 40-87 cm, and weighing up to 14,5 kg. Females are smaller than males. All tree kangaroos are endangered because of excessive hunting and habitat-loss.
Large treeshrew (Tupaia tana) is a kind of squirrel is the biggest treeshrew. They are endemic in Sumatra and Kalimantan. The body length is 165-321 mm, tail length is 130-220 mm, back leg is 43-57 mm. The color is reddish brown. They are omnivores, eating earthworms, insects, larvae, and fruits.They have sensistive hearing and excellent night vision, but poor day vision. They are endangered because of habitat loss and excessive hunting.
Red-tail flying Squirrels (Iomys horfieldi) is one of squirrels that can fly from one tree to another. When flying, they can reach 135-450 m distance. The flying squirrels have membranes that connect its arms and legs, and the tail that helps their balance. Then, they usually eat fruits, nuts, and larvae. Moreover, they are nocturnal. The body length can reach 43 cm with weight 215 grams. They prefer to live in highlands, around 1000 m above sea level. They are often poisoned or killed because they often become pests in fuit fields.
Lesser adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus), is a species of storks. They disperse in southern Asia, from East India to Java Island. They are big storks. However, this species is the smallest of genus Leptoptilos.
The height is around 110-120 cm, weight is around 5 kg, and the wing span is 210 cm. The upper body and the wings are black. The belly, chest and lower tail are white. The head and the neck are hairless, with cotton-like feather on the crown. The beaks are pale, long, and thick. The chicks are more dull-colored.
This stork, just like any other storks, are carnivorous. They eat fish, frogs, lizards, insects, and other invertebrates. Nevertheless, this stork is endangered because of habitat loss, and declining of foods in rice fields and swamps. The pesticides used in rice fields killed small fish in the rice fields.
There are 3 species of crocodiles in Indonesia. Such as the saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), Siamese crocodiles (Crocodylus siamensis), and false gharials (Tomistoma schlegelii). Among the three, false gharials are the most endangered, due to competition with the other 2 types of crocodiles (especially the more agressive saltwater crocodiles), pollution the rivers they are dwelling and the scarcity of foods. All of the crocodiles are endangered and protected because some decades their populations declined rapidly because of excessive poaching for their skin and torpedo.
Sulawesi forest tortoise (Leucocephalon yuwonoi) is an endemic land-dwelling tortoise in Sulawesi. This tortoise was included in the list of The World’s 25 Most Endangered Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles in 2011, with the population less than 250 individuals. As well as, the declining of population because of poaching, forest fires, and predators.
Phytons are often poached because of their high-priced skin. Indian phytons and Timorese phytons are ones with the most beautiful skin. This makes them vulnerable to excessive poachings, make them really scarce in the wild.
Nautilus (Nautilus spp) is a common name of Nautilidae family. They are sea-dwelling molusks. Even though they have shells, they are still close relatives of squids and octopus. Then, they can have up to 90 tentacles. The shell are involutes and smooth, with reddish brown stripes that can identify the animal’s age.While, Its shell diameter is around 3-30 cm. They have been exist since millions years ago, with not much different shape, making them regarded as living fossils.
All nautilus species are endangered and protected globally.
Giant clams (Tridacna spp) is one of the most endangered clams. They are native to warm coral reefs in indo-pacific regions, although some are found in Indian ocean regions too. They can weigh more than 200 grams and 120 cm long across. Their mantles are usually bright-colored, caused by symbiotic dinoflagellate algae from which the clams get most of their nutrition. On the other hand, they are endangered because of water pollution in the sea, and poaching. People use the flesh as foods, and the shells for ornaments.
In many parts of the world, they are now cultivated for saltwater aquariums.
Endangered Animals Conservation
The efforts to preserve the diverse wildlife has been realized by the government and the public since years ago. Its done by setting up the specific landscape as conservation areas. Then, in Indonesia itself, the conservation done by In-situ and Ex-situ preservation. In-situ preservation is undertaken in their natural habitat. Its carried out at protected places by government. Meanwhile, the Ex-situ conservation conducted on a species outside its original habitat. Its applied for rare and endangered animals.
So far, the area of wildlife conservation in Indonesia consists of two conservation. There are land and marine conservative areas. Land conservation area consists of National Parks, Forest Park and Nature Reserves. While, Marine conservation is consists of Marine Parks and Marine Tourism Park.
See also: Most Expensive Universities in Indonesia
Indonesia is not only rich in cultures, but also rich in animals. Some of these endangered animals are apex predators, which play important role of balancing the ecosystems. As younger generation, we should try to contribute to conservation programs wherever we are globally. Some ways to do that are not to buy any endangered animals as pets, stop eating shark-fin soups, and stop using animal furs as clothes. If each person in the world do those things, the population of endangered animals will increase and our next generation will still be able to see those animals.