Natuna Islands

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Coordinates: 4°00′N 108°15′E / 4.000°N 108.250°E / 4.000; 108.250

Natuna Islands
Kepulauan Natuna
Islands and Regency
Official seal of Natuna Islands
Motto: Laut Sakti Rantau Bertuah
Natuna location in the Indonesia Sea.
Natuna location in the Indonesia Sea.
Country Indonesia
Province Riau Islands
Capital Ranai
 • Total 2,009.04 km2 (775.69 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 83,498
 • Density 42/km2 (110/sq mi)
Time zone WIB (UTC+7)

The Natuna Islands archipelago (272 islands) is located in the South China Sea in the larger Tudjuh Archipelago, off the northwest coast of Borneo. Administratively, the islands (including the nearby Bunguran Islands) constitute a regency within the Riau Islands Province of Indonesia and are the northernmost non-disputed island group of Indonesia. The Natuna Islands themselves are divided into three groups: North Natuna, which includes Laut Island (Pulau Laut); Middle Natuna, which includes Bunguran (or Natuna Besar); and South Natuna, which includes the Subi Islands and Serasan.


The Regency is divided into twelve districts (kecamatan) – tabulated below with their 2010 Census population:[1]

Name Population
Census 2010[2]
Midai 5,007
Bunguran Barat
(West Bunguran)
Bunguran Utara
(North Bunguran)
Pulau Laut 2,169
Pulau Tiga 4,826
Bunguran Timur
(East Bunguran)
Bunguran Timur Laut
(Northeast Bunguran)
Bunguran Tengah
(Central Bunguran)
Bunguran Selatan
(South Bunguran)
Serasan 4,506
Subi 2,577
Serasan Timur
(East Serasan)

Indonesia's exclusive economic zone off the coast of Natuna slightly overlaps with the large part of the South China Sea controversially claimed by China within its nine-dash line. In 2014–2015, the presence of the Indonesian army on the islands is being reinforced, which the Indonesian government hopes will reduce the chance of any conflict.[3]


According to statistics released in 2010, the population of the islands stood at 69,003 people. 85.27% of the inhabitants are Malays, with the remainder consisting of Javanese, other Sumatrans and Chinese. By January 2014, the population was estimated officially to be 83,498.

Despite being politically part of Indonesia, the majority of the inhabitants trace their ancestry to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The prevailing language is a distinct variety of Malay which has strong similarities with Terengganu Malay and Sarawak Malay. Malaysia has no claims to the Natunas and acknowledges the islands as Indonesian territory.

Islam is the prevalent religion of the islands.[4]


Despite important natural gas reserves, most of the locals work as fishermen or farmers. There is no significant tourism industry. Farming is not on an industrial scale, just small holdings. The other main source of income is gained by people working for the government.[citation needed]


The Natuna Islands have a rich diversity of birds, although some, like the Green Iora are threatened by habitat loss

The Natuna Islands are a 272-island archipelago of Indonesia, located in the Natuna Sea between Peninsular Malaysia to the west and Borneo to the east. They extend in a NNW direction for 300 km from Tanjung Api, the northwest extremity of Kalimantan/Borneo. The Natuna Sea itself is a section of the South China Sea.

The North Group consists of a large island (Pulau Laut), two small islands and several adjacent islets and reefs which lie about 50 km NNW of Natuna Besar Island. Pulau Laut is about 11 km long with a greatest width of 5 km towards the south; it is generally hilly, rising to 273 metres near its north end.

The Middle Group consists of Natuna Besar Island, which contains the bulk of the area and population of the archipelago, together with small offshore islets and reefs; the Bodas Islands (Kepulauan Bodas) are a group of moderately high wooded islands lying close to the southwest coast of Natuna Besar.

The Southern Group (Kepulauan Natuna Selatan) consists primarily of two groups of islands separated from the coast of Kalimantan by the Api Passage. The Subi Islands (Kepulauan Subi) of which the main islands are Subi Besar, Subi Kecil, Bakau, Panjang and Seraya, lie southeast of Natuna Besar. Serasan Island (Pulau Serasan) is the largest of the islands lying further to the southeast and nearer to Kalimantan.

Natural resources[edit]

Natuna has large reserves of natural gas (estimated to 1.3 billion m3) that is exported to neighbouring countries such as Singapore. Matak Island now serves as an offshore exploitation base.


The Natuna Islands have a remarkable avifauna with 71 species of bird registered, including the near-threatened lesser fish-eagle, the Natuna serpent-eagle. Other endangered species include the green iora, the brown fulvetta or the green broadbill.[citation needed]

Colourful coral reefs are found in the neighbouring waters. The Natuna banded leaf monkey, Presbytis natunae, is among[5] the 25 most endangered primates on Earth.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011.
  2. ^ Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011.
  3. ^ The sleepy island Indonesia is guarding from China, BBC News, Karishma Vaswani, 19 October 2014
  4. ^ The Natuna Islands: Geographically Malaysian, politically Indonesian, 7 December 2013 (in Malay)
  5. ^ Martjan Lammertink, Vincent Nijman and Utami Setiorini, "Population size, Red List status and conservation of the Natuna leaf monkey Presbytis natunae endemic to the island of Bunguran, Indonesia." Oryx / Volume 37 / Issue 04 / October 2003, pp 472 – 479

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]