Category: Ujung Kulon.

About Ujung Kulon National Park

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Ujung Kulon National Park lies at the extreme south-western tip of Java. It comprises a section of mainland Java, as well as the Ujung Kulon peninsula and offshore islands of Pulau Panaitan, Pulau Handeuleum and Pulau Peucang and their surrounding waters. Krakatau Nature Reserve, comprising the four islands of the Krakatau group located at about 6Okm to the north. The total area of the park is 76,119ha, including Krakatau Nature Reserve (2,500ha).

Ujung Kulon peninsula and Pulau Panaitan were established as a nature reserve in 1921, subsequently redesignated as a game reserve and extended in 1958 to include several offshore islands and marine areas. The mainland component of the park was established as a nature reserve in 1967 and Krakatau established as a nature reserve in 1921. The Ujung Kulom reserve complex was declared a ‘proposed’ national park in 1980 and Krakatau Nature Reserve incorporated into the site in 1983.

Ujung Kulon is a triangular peninsula protruding from the north-west extremity of mainland Java, to which it is joined by a low isthmus some 1-2 km wide. The topography is dominated in the south-west by the three north-south aligned ridges of the Gunung Payung massif, while to the north-east, the relief attenuates to the low rolling hills and plains of the Telanca Plateau.

The Gunung Honje massif forms the mainland component of the park in the east. Coastal features include raised coral islands and fringing coral reefs to the north of the peninsula, while extensive coral reefs and spectacular volcanic formations lie to the west.

Primary lowland rain forest occurs on the Gunung Payung and Gunung Honje massifs and on Pulau Panaitan secondary forest, dominated by palms, occurs on the Telanca Plateau, along with dense stands of bamboo and Zingiberaceae. Other vegetation types include a seasonally inundated freshwater swamp forest along the northern promontory of Ujung Kulon, as well as mangrove forest which occurs in abroad belt along the northern side of the isthmus. In addition, a number of artificially created grasslands totalling 64ha are maintained as grazing grounds for ungulates.

Krakatau Nature Reserve lies on the edge of the tectonically active Sunda Shelf, and comprises the central island of Anak Krakatau and the peripheral islands of Rakata, Payang and Sertung with their surrounding coral reefs.

Vegetation of the Krakatau group is characterised by a number of different stages of succession. Sertung, to the north-west, is maintained in a state of early biotic succession by active geological processes of erosion and accretion, while Rakata is characterised by extensive moss forest which extends from the summit down to approximately 650m.

Ujung Kulon National Park has two attractions that are particularly outstanding: it is the home of the last viable population of the Javan or lesser one-horned rhinoceros, and it includes the famous volcano of Krakatau.


Conditions are tropical maritime, with a seasonal mean annual rainfall of approximately 3249mm. Heaviest rainfall is between October and April during the north-west monsoon, and a noticeably drier period occurs between May and September during the south-east monsoon. Mean monthly rainfall figures of 400mm have been recorded for December and January, and 100mm per month during May to September. Mean temperatures range between 25QC and 30QC and relative humidity between 65% and 100% (Blower and van der Zon, 1977; Hommel, 1987).


Vegetation has been subject to a number of anthropogenic and natural modifications, of which the most notable is the Krakatau eruption of 1883. As a result, primary lowland rain forest, the natural vegetation cover, now occupies only 50% of the total area, being largely confined to the Gunung Payung and Honje massifs.

A tall closed canopy forest occurs on Gunung Payung and is characterised by Dillenia excelsa, Pentace polyantha and Syzygium sp., with an understorey of low palms and herbs. Primary forest also occurs on Pulau Peucang and is typified by an open canopy with numerous emergents up to 40m in height. Dominant tree species are Parinari corymbosum, Laqerstroemia speciosa, Rinorea lanceolata, Pterospermum diversifolium, Intsia bijuqa, Eugenia spp., Aglaia spp., and Diospyros spp. Primary lowland forest of the Gunung Honje region includes Pterospermum iavanicum, Dipterocarpus qracilis, Intsia biluqa, Lagerstroemia speciosa, Ficus spp. and Eugenia spp. Understorey includes palms such as Arenqa obtusifolia and rotan Calamus sp. The higher slopes are characterised by trees such as Castanopsis sp. which occur in a denser canopy dominated by Podocarpus neriifolius, Turpinia sphaerocarpa, Faqraea racemosa, Dipterocarpus hasseltii, Aphanamixis spp. and Eurya spp. The understorey is characterised by extensive moss growth, both on the ground and on trees, as well as by the occurrence of epiphytic orchids such as Asplenium nidus and ferns such as Freycinetia sp. Vegetation of the Telanca Plateau and central lowlands is a more open secondary forest, dominated by palms, such as Arenga pinnata, Caryota mitis and Arenqa obtusifolia, which may occur in almost pure stands interspersed with taller canopy trees, such as Lagerstroemia flosreqinae, Diospyros macrophylla, Vitex pubescens, Ficus sp., and Planchonia valida. Alternating with palm forest are dense stands of bamboo and Zingiberaceae, such as Achasma spp., Nicolaia spp. and Lontana camara. Occurring along the northern promontory of Ujung Kulon near Tanjung alang-alang is a seasonally inundated freshwater swamp forest. Dominant tree species include Typha angustifolia and Cyperus sp., of which the commonest is C. pilosus. Mangrove forest occurs in a broad belt along the northern side of the isthmus, extending northwards as far as the Cikalong River, as well as to the north of Pulau Handeuleum and on the north-east coast of Pulau Panaitan. Tree species include Sonneratia alba, Lumnitzera racemosa, Nypa fruticans, Avicennia spp., Rhizophora spp., and Bruquiera spp. Beach forest occurs on nutrient-poor sandy ridges on the north and north-west coasts of Ujung Kulon, and is typified by such species as Calophyllum inophyllum, Barrinqtonia asiatica, Hernandia peltata, Guettarda speciosa, Terminalia catappa and Ponqamia pinnata. Other coastal vegetation types include pioneering pescapre formations along the upper edge of beaches, above the high tide mark. Characteristic species include Ipomoea pescaprae, Spinifex littoreus and Canavalia maritima. A number of artificially created grasslands totalling 64ha are maintained as grazing grounds for ungulates (Blower and van der Zon, 1977; Hommel, 1987). At least 50 species of rare plants are present (K. MacKinnon, pers. comm., 1991).

Vegetation of the Krakatau group is characterised by a number of different stages of succession. Rakata, the largest ‘outer’ island, contains extensive Neonauclea calvcina-dominated moss forest which extends from the summit region down to approximately 650m. Sertung, to the north-west, is maintained in a state of early biotic succession by active geological processes of erosion and accretion. The central volcanically active island of Anak Krakatau is characterised by vegetation in the early stages of succession following effective sterilisation by the eruption of 1952 (Thornton et al., 1984). The development of the vegetation and floras of the Krakatau Islands is described by Whittaker et al. (1989).


Ujung Kulon is the last remaining viable natural refuge for Javan rhinoceros Rhinoceros sondaicus (E), for which the most recent census indicates a total population of about 57 individuals (Santiapillai et al., 1990). The tiger Panthera tiqris was lost about 20 years ago (J.W. Thorsell, pers. comm.,1991).

Other notable mammals include carnivores, such as leopard Panthera pardus (T), wild dog Cuon alpinus (V), leopard cat Felis bengalensis, fishing cat F. viverrina, Javan mongoose Herpestes javanicus and several civets, including binturong Arctictis binturong. Of the primates, the endemic species Javan gibbon Hylobates moloch (E) and Javan leaf monkey Presbytis comata occur locally along with the endemic silvered leaf monkey P. cristata, while crab-eating macaque Macaca fascicularis is found throughout the park. Several ungulates range within the park, of which the largest and most abundant is banteng Bos javanicus (V), with a population of around 700 on Ujung Kulon Peninsula and Gunung Honje.


Other species include muntjac Muntiacus muntjak, lesser mouse deer Tragulus javanicus, rusa deer Cervus timorensis and wild boar Sus scrofa. A rich avifauna is present with over 270 species recorded, including green peafowl Pavo muticus (V), two species of jungle fowl Gallus gallus and G. varius, reef heron Egretta sacra, dusky grey heron Ardea sumatrana, osprey Pandion haliaetus, Brahminy kite Haliastur indus, white-bellied sea eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster, ruddy kingfisher Halcyon coromanda and frigate bird Fregatta ariel. In addition, three species of Ciconiidae (storks), 11 species of Columbidae (pigeons and doves) and 16 species of Cuculidae (cuckoos) also occur.

Terrestrial reptiles and amphibians include two species of python, namely reticulated python Python reticulatus and Indian python P. molurus (V) as well as two crocodiles, false gharial Tomistoma schlegelii (E) and estuarine crocodile Crocodylus porosus (V), and numerous frogs and toads (Blower and van der Zon, 1977). Green turtle Chelonia mydas is known to nest within the park (K. MacKinnon, pers. comm., 1991). The terrestrial vertebrate fauna of the Krakatau Islands is described by Rawlinson et al. (1990).

Some 40 species of resident birds have been recorded from the Krakatau group by Thornton et al. (1984), seven more than recorded in 1952 by Hoogerwerf (1953). Species include black-naped fruit pigeon Ptilinopus melanospila, large brown cuckoo dove Macropygia phasianella, emerald dove Chalcophaps indica, collared kingfisher Halcyon chloris and yellow-vented bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier. Two species normally associated with mangroves, mangrove flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra and mangrove whistler Pachycephala cinerea, are notable as having persisted on the islands despite the loss of favoured habitat. The birds of the Krakatau group are described by Zann et al. (1990) and their colonisation of these islands by Thornton et al. (1988) and Zann et al. (1990). Avifaunal inventories are given by Hoogerwerf (1953, 1969), Blower and van der Zon (1977) and Thornton et al. (1984). A preliminary faunal inventory for the Krakatau islands can be found in Thornton et al. (1984).

A detailed account of the Ujung Kulon and Krakatau reefs can be found in UNEP/IUCN (1988). The rich coral reefs of the Ujung Kulon coast are dominated by a small number of species that make up some 90% of the coral mass. Of these, table top coral Acropora spp. may dominate at 3-15m below sea level, while Acropora spp. and Pocillopora spp. may be co-dominant in shallower water. Other shallow water species include Millepora platyphylla and Porites lutea. Below 15m, Gorgonacea (sea fans) are abundant, along with Favia sp., Favites sp., Dipluria sp., Turbinaria sp. and Echinopora sp. According to Halim and Kvalvagnaes (1980), the marine areas of Ujung Kulon support some of the richest fish fauna in the archipelago, with both deep water and reef species well represented. Deep water species include barracuda, sailfish, tuna, skipjack and sharks, while reef fish include 15 species of butterfly fish, such as Chaetodon spp., four species of triggerfish, including Odonis niger and Balistoides niger, as well as angel fish Pomocanthus sp., batfish Platax junnatus and P. orbicularis, and moorish idol Zanclus cornutus. Notable fish of the intertidal and brackish zones include archer fish and mudskippers. The invertebrate fauna is rich and includes cowries Stromus sp., as well as Lamlas sp. and Nautilus sp. Preliminary inventories of reef fish, molluscs and corals can be found in Halim and Kvalvagnaes (1980).

The reefs of the Krakatau Islands, particularly the narrow patch reefs to the west of Sertung and north of Rakata, are in the process of being colonised by pioneer species, such as Porites spp., and secondary colonisers such as Acropora sp. and Pocillopora sp. Salm et al. (1982) give faunal inventories for marine areas of Krakatau.


Pulau Panaitan has a number of early Hindu archaeological relics from the first century AD and is thought to have been an important staging post for sailing ships passing through the Sunda Straits (Blower and van der Zon, 1977). In addition, a number of structures remain on Rakata and Tanjung Layar from the Japanese occupation during the Second World War (J. W. Thorsell, pers. comm., 1991).


The areas to the north, south and east of Gunung Honje are heavily populated (Blower and van der Zon, 1977). There is one permanent settlement within the park at Legon Makis (60 families). The Krakatau islands are uninhabited (Thornton et al., 1984).


The park receives 6,500 visitors per year of which 60% are nationals and 40% foreigners (J.W. Thorsell, pers. comm., 1991). Basic accommodation is available at Handeuleum and Peucang Islands, and an information centre, shelter and nature trails are located at park headquarters at Tamanjaya (PHPA, pers. comm., 1985).

Category: Ujung Kulon