Got four hours to kill?? If the answer is yes, then get in a taxi or microlet and take a trip to Kali Waterfall a short drive, part way up the road on the way to Tomohon.
Suggestion – wear sneakers or hiking boots as can be slippery. Pass Gran Puri Hotel and you will make a left hand turn after about ten minutes later, as you begin to wind
up the hill towards the highlands. Once making this turn, the road is actually pretty good all the way up to the parking lot. (I hate to use the word "parking lot", it should
be "the house where there is room to park a car or two"!). This short ride is about 10 to 15 minutes. Get out of you vehicle – smell the cool air, no exhaust and
everyone willing to lend a hand, if you need it. The walk down to the waterfall begins. First stop is the scenic overlook of Manado, where there is a private residence
at this point and sometimes you may get pisang goreng (fried bananas) for a nominal fee, but worth it, with the sambal (chilli). Do this on the way back! After this brief Fuji Moment
take your next right and follow it down approximately 200 stairs and some flat area as well, and voila you arrive at the base of the falls. Be ready for lots of wind blown spray as the
force of the water is pretty intense, causing the mist to pretty much cover everything and everyone. There is a nice bridge that spans the river where you can get some great shots of the waterfall!
BOGANI NANI WARTABONE NATIONAL PARK,
A STRONGHOLD FOR THREATENED WILDLIFE IN SULAWESI
By Rob Lee and Suparman Rais
Crouching beneath the rainforest canopy in the dead of night, a group of forty people - university students, NGO members, and forest guards - are following the torch beams with their binoculars
to get a good view of a rare Sulawesi masked owl. As part of a training program that teaches field skills to monitor ecological change and human activities within the park, the group has just
spent all day learning about birds. Not your average sparrow, mind you, but the unique Sulawesi birds that occur in their own back yard, the Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park (formerly
known as Dumoga Bone National Park).
Visiting the 2,871 km2 national park is a thrill. Hornbills gliding above, colorful parrots squawking amongst the high canopy, mud-laden babirusa pigs dashing through shrubs, and macaques
romping all remind us how special Bogani Nani is. With high rates of endemic, rare and endangered mammals, birds, and reptiles, it is eastern Indonesia's most important terrestrial protected area.
And to make a statement like that, in a country like Indonesia whose biodiversity is the highest in the world, is no small compliment. Results from a recent Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
biodiversity survey suggest that this park is probably the last great stronghold for such rare and threatened species of birds and mammals of Sulawesi.
Sulawesi holds a special position in global biodiversity conservation. The island is a gallery of evolutionary originals, boasting some very strange and unique looking animals.
The babirusa pig is undeniably ugly; gray and hairless, two spiral tusks curl upward inches away from their icy-white eyes dotted by tiny black pupils. The seven species of Sulawesi
macaque monkeys are tail-less, each species having a unique pattern of calluses on their bums. The anoa, a temperamental goat-sized buffalo, is crowned with two conical horns.
The two cuscus species, bear cuscus and dwarf cuscus, are marsupial endemics who use their long curling tail as an extra hand that twirl around branches leaving their hands free to
pluck leaves and fruits. The tuxedoed, blue-helmeted maleo birds dig pits near hot springs or on beaches to lay their gigantic eggs.
In a way, we wish the story of how they came to be were a Just-so Story, for then there would be a guaranteed happy ending. Here's how it all started. Around 40 million years ago,
a northward Australian plate crashed into the Asian plate creating eastern Sulawesi. Eastern Sulawesi proceeded to move northwards and crash into western Sulawesi beginning the fusion
between the two around 15 million years ago. This tectonic scrum led to the island's present shape with mountain peaks jutting every which way, deep valleys, depressions and massive volcanism.
Since the two parts of Sulawesi came from different places, they each brought with them a different mix of plants and animals.
This mixing of plants and animals created a biological transitional zone between Asia and Australasia called Wallacea for which Sulawesi is the heart. Due to its large size combined with its
geographic isolation from other animal and plant populations, Sulawesi has one of the highest levels of species endemism in the world. Of the known Sulawesi fauna, 62% mammal, 27% bird, 32%
reptile and 76% amphibian species are found only in Sulawesi. The mammal species hits an extraordinary 98% if bats are not included. In comparison, endemism on the neighboring islands Borneo
and Sumatra for mammals is a fifth, and birds less than a quarter of the percentage of endemics in Sulawesi.
Unfortunately, many of these species are quickly disappearing from forests throughout Sulawesi. Large mammals including babirusa, anoa, and macaques are hunted throughout North and Central
Sulawesi for the meat markets in eastern North Sulawesi. With increases in wealth and North Sulawesi human population, the demand for bushmeat has increased over the past fifteen years.
In addition, Sulawesi has one of the highest rates of lowland rainforest loss in the world. At present, babirusa and anoa have virtually disappeared from most North Sulawesi and Southeast forests,
and macaque and bear cuscus populations are small and isolated. And maleo nesting sites have been abandoned and destroyed in great numbers.
One shining hope for Sulawesi biodiversity conservation is Bogani. WCS's recent wildlife population survey results of large mammals including babirusa, anoa, and Gorontalo macaque were higher than expected.
Nineteen globally threatened bird species such as the maleo, yellow-breasted racquet-tail, blue-faced rail, and Matinan blue flycatcher, and a total of 195 bird species have been observed. With some species,
the bulk of the species can be found only at Bogani. For example, the entire population of the Gorontalo macaque and 95% of the Yellow-breasted Racquet-tail are found at Bogani.
Bogani faces problems common to all parks in Indonesia. Illegal mining, logging, and hunting have been rampant since its establishment. Staff technical capacity has been low. Management plans have not been followed.
Park boundaries remain unclear. Relations with neighboring communities were bitter, and any effort toward strengthening management was seen by communities as yet another strong-arm tactic by the central government
to marginalize them. Policies aimed at increasing agricultural productivity have stirred land clearing in and around park areas. Most recently, the park's operational budget was cut by 74% since 1999.
These trends threatened to turn Bogani into one of the more than 350 'paper parks' set aside by the government.
The park is clearly important for global biodiversity conservation. The park also provides an enormous range of economic and ecological benefits. It maintains water quality for surrounding rivers and lakes
that people in surrounding towns use, protects the watershed of the Dumoga River which irrigates the 11,000 ha of rice fields, prevents soil erosion, and supports the web of life that allows people in surrounding
areas to harvest fish and produce agricultural crops.
From the new research findings on the park's flora and fauna, we are now in the position to really do some good. We simply must. The kind of training described earlier is part of the plan. But we need all people
and groups who have a claim on, or care about the park, to work together. And this is a major challenge. The thing that keeps us moving toward that goal though is that Bogani is truly a special place. Government,
non-governmental organizations, universities, and people living around the park are now all involved in turning Bogani into an effective and functioning national park. The ecological monitoring we do is critical,
but it is no good to know the numbers if all we see the numbers of animals go down. Through a process of consensus building and innovative programs in the way of alternative financing, multi-stakeholder management,
intensive patrolling and monitoring, technical training, and awareness-building, a program to preserve the park's biodiversity and, in turn, safeguard the local ecology and economy is being built.
R. Lee heads the Sulawesi project for WCS and S. Rais is the head of Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park.
Picture: Wildlife Conservation Society
Discovery of Rare Birds at Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve
Source: NRM_Headline_News, Issue 23, June 21, 2000
The 159,000 km2 island of Sulawesi is the largest island in the biogeographical sub region of Wallacea, the transition zone between Asian and Australian plants and animals.
Due to its size and geographic isolation, Sulawesi has one of the highest levels of species endemism (i.e., species occurring there and nowhere else) in the world. The island has been designated
an Endemic Bird Area, supporting approximately 350 bird species, of which 88 are endemic, and 54 are restricted to a particular range. While most remaining lowland forest areas in North Sulawesi
are small, there are still large forest tracts in montane regions above 1,000 m. These are important refuges for many threatened bird species, including Minahasa Masked-owl (Tyto inexspectata),
Snoring Rail (Aramidopsis plateni), and Maleo (Macrocephalon maleo). However, faunal populations in North Sulawesi have dramatically declined in recent years due to hunting, wildlife trade,and habitat destruction.
Due to these increasing pressures on wildlife, protected areas have become even more critical than before to the conservation of Sulawesi's fauna. All of the thirteen
bird species endemic to North Sulawesi depend to some extent on forest, and, in recent years, ten of these species have only been recorded within protected areas. In total, the protected
areas of North Sulawesi are known to support populations of 34 threatened or near-threatened species of bird, of which 14 are in a high category of threat.
In November 1999, through funding from NRM/EPIQ (Natural Resource Management, a program supported by USAID), the Wildlife Conservation services (WCS) conducted biodiversity
surveys at Gunung Ambang, a 8,638 hectare nature reserve and a 25,000 ha extension north of the reserve. The reserve supports a high variety of habitats including lowland forest, hill forest,
montane forest, and highland lakes. number of primary forest types between 700 m and 1,760 m. Due to the diversity of habitats, bird diversity is relatively high. We observed 108 bird species
in these two areas, and we discovered the presence of two bird species of special note.
First, we encountered the Cinnabar Hawk-Owl (Ninox ios). This is an important finding because this species was only recently described from a single museum specimen collected
in 1985 from Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park.
Second, we encountered the globally threatened Matinan Flycatcher (Cyornis sanfordi). This species is known from a single specimen caught in 1985. We encountered several Matinan
Flycatcher individuals in hill forests of Gunung Ambang. This encounter is the first published observations of Matinan Flycatcher for 15 years, and is an important finding for conservation.
A total of 116 species has now been recorded at Gunung Ambang including a number of rare or threatened birds such as the Maleo (Macrocephalon maleo), Isabelline Bush-Hen (Amauromis isabellinus),
and Sulawesi/Satanic nightjar (Eurostopodus diabolicus). Furthermore, there may be more than 20 species of mammals including the endangered Crested Black Macaque (Macaca nigra), Anoa (Bubalus depressicornis),
and Babirusa (Babyrousa babyrussa) in either the reserve or the extension area.
The fact that we were able to discover the presence of these virtually unknown and thought locally-extinct bird species in only the third time that biodiversity surveys has been conducted in the
reserve shows what little we know about the ecology of North Sulawesi. In addition, it also goes to show how important Gunung Ambang is, and, in general, how important protected areas are for biodiversity
conservation in Sulawesi.
Robert J. Lee, Ph. D.
Wildlife Conservation services - Indonesia Program, Sulawesi