Wakatobi National Park

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Wakatobi National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Wakatobi beach 2006.jpg
Map showing the location of Wakatobi National Park
Map showing the location of Wakatobi National Park
Wakatobi NP
Location Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia
Nearest city Bau-Bau
Coordinates 5°41′S 124°0′E / 5.683°S 124.000°E / -5.683; 124.000Coordinates: 5°41′S 124°0′E / 5.683°S 124.000°E / -5.683; 124.000
Area 13,900 km2
Established 2002
Governing body Ministry of Forestry

Wakatobi National Park is a marine national park in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. The name of Wakatobi is a portmanteau of the four main Tukangbesi Islands: Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko.[1] Since 2005 the park is listed as a tentative World Heritage Site.[2]

Location and topography[edit]

Wakatobi National Park is located south-east of Sulawesi, between 05°12’-06°10’S and 123°20’-124°39’E, between the Banda Sea to the north-east and the Flores Sea to the south-west.[1]

It consists of four larger islands: Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko, as well as many small islands such as Tokobao, North Lintea, South Lintea, Kampenaune, Hoga and Tolandono. The highest elevation is 274 metres (899 ft) on Wangi-Wangi, followed by Lagole Hill (271m) on Tomia, Terpadu Hill (222 m) on Binongko and Mount Sampuagiwolo (203 m) on Kadelupa.[1] The water depth varies, with the deepest parts reaching 1,044 metres (3,425 ft).[2]

It is the third largest marine park in Indonesia. Jacques Cousteau is said to have called the Wakatobi islands – then known as the Tukangbesi islands: an “Underwater Nirwana”. Now a national marine park covering the entire Waktobi District, it comprises 1.4 million hectares, of which 900,000 host tropical coral reefs. Wakatobi has the highest number of reef and fish species in the world. The islands are form the largest barrier reef in Indonesia, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It is the habitat of large and small fish species, dolphins, turtles and whales.[3] The island group comprises 143 islands of which 7 are inhabited, counting a total population of around 100,000. Most notable are the Bajo communities, seafaring nomads who inhabit many of Indonesia’s remote islands.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Coral reef in the national park

Located in the Asia-Pacific World Coral Triangle, in the province of South East Sulawesi, the Wakatobi Islands offer clear waters and a rich bio-diverse underwater life. Wakatobi hosts 942 fish species and 750 coral reef species (of 850 globally), versus 50 in the Caribbean and 300 in the Red Sea.[3]

Habitats found in the national park are mangrove forest, coastal forest, lowland swamp forest, riverbank vegetation, lowland rainforest, mountain rainforest and coral reefs. The Wakatobi Archipelago has 25 groups of coral reefs including fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atolls.[1] A survey conducted in 2003 identified 396 species of coral belonging to 68 genera and 15 families.[4] These include Acropora formosa, Acropora hyacinthus, Psammocora profundasafla, Pavona cactus, Leptoseris yabei, Fungia molucensis, Lobophyllia robusta, Merulina ampliata, Platygyra versifora, Euphyllia glabrescens, Tubastraea frondes, Stylophora pistillata, Sarcophyton throchelliophorum, and Sinularia species.[5]

Among the recorded species of seabirds are the brown booby, common kingfisher and Malaysian plover.[5]

Turtles in the park include the hawksbill, loggerhead and olive ridley.[5]

Human habitation[edit]

The main settlement in the islands is the administrative centre for the Regency Bau-Bau. In 2001 nearly 90,000 people lived in the islands.[4]

The indigenous people who live around the Park belong to the Bajau ethnic group. Locals still commonly use spear-fishing.[5]

Conservation and threats[edit]

After the designation of the Wakatobi Marine Conservation Area in 1996, the Wakatobi National Park was established in 2002. It is managed by the Wakatobi National Park Authority (Balai Taman Nasional).[1] In 2005 the park was listed as a tentative World Heritage Site.[2] In 2012 it was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.[6]

Major threats are posed by overfishing and destructive fishing practices,[7] including fish bombing and poison fishing.[4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Wakatobi National Park at Wikimedia Commons