Eco-tourism lovers now have a new location in which to enjoy nature and preserve it at the same time at the newly opened Angke Kapuk natural tourism park in North Jakarta. Inaugurated on Monday by Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, the 99.8 hectare swampy park, set up help preserving millions of mangrove trees, dozens of rare birds, turtles, monitor lizards and sea animals, features a restaurant, bathrooms, playground and 38 wooden huts. Other facilities include canoes and rubber boats.
“The Angke Kapuk natural tourism park is the second of its kind in Indonesia after Ngurah Rai Forest Park. I hope this park, located near the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, can become a major foreign tourist destination,” Zulkifli said at the inauguration ceremony. Visitors to the site, located next to Muara Angke mangrove conservation forest and the upscale Pantai Indah Kapuk housing complex, can also see rare birds from all over the world, Bambang A. Putra, the marketing director of the park’s management firm PT Murindra Karya Lestari, said,
“Visitors can view the birds using binoculars in the watching tower,” Bambang said, adding that the park was a transit point for various species of birds. “Even the Sunda coucal *Centropus nigrorufus*, a vulnerable spe-cies, can be found in the park,” Bambang said. He added that he expected companies could make use of the park for gatherings or for corporate social responsibility activities.
“Many companies have planted mangroves here even before the opening,” he said. Murindra president director Murniwati Harahap said that apart from the Rp 10,000 (US$1) entrance fee, visitors could join a package tour for Rp 100,000. “They can plant two mangrove trees and have their names carved on a plank near the trees. We will take care of the trees for two years.”
Murniwati said she hoped the park would attract children “because they are the next custodians of nature”. Families can rent wooden huts of various sizes from between Rp 350,000 to Rp 1.5 million per night. It took 12 years for Murindra to transform the land, which was a wild mangrove forest threatened by illegal fishing. “After obtaining a license to manage the area 12 years ago, we began planting new mangrove trees,” Murniwati said.
“Residents used to chop down the mangrove trees to build fish farms,” she added. “It was very difficult to grow mangroves. Frequently, farmers would illegally chopped down the trees right after we planted them. Now, we have fenced off the surrounding area to prevent similar occurrences. “The farmers did not realize that mangrove trees protect the area from land erosion, storm surges and even tsunamis. Mangroves also filter out pollutants from sea water,” she elaborated.
The Forestry Ministry, North Jakarta municipality and local police said they would enforce the legal protection of the mangrove forest by implementing the 1999 Forestry Law, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for anyone who damages mangroves or captures animals within the park. North Jakarta Mayor Bambang Sugiyono welcomed the new park, saying it would help the municipality revive its mangrove forest. The park will add to the expansion of the city’s green zones, increasing the area from 179.56 hectares at present to 334.7 hectares in the future, Sugiyono said. (mrs)
Source: The Jakarta Post – January 27, 2010