Lore Lindu National Park Okay for Ecotourism: Sulawesi

Central Sulawesi, the once-restive province of sectarian conflict in Poso, has great potential to be developed as the country’s newest attraction in ecotourism. Its sizable marine and forest reserves have yet to be promoted overseas to tourists and investors. Besides Togean Island in Tojo Una-Una regency, Lake Poso in Poso regency, megalith sites in Poso and Donggala and the white sand beaches of Tanjung Karang, the province also offers the Lore Lindu National Park (TNLL), a protected rainforest rich in flora and fauna.

The rich natural resources have yet to attract the international world because of the lack of promotion and the conflict which claimed at least 2,000 human lives as Ruslan Sangadji explains.

The central government initially declared the rainforest a national park to begin promoting the region’s environment and stimulate the province’s economic growth.

The 218,000-hectare national park, located in Donggala and Poso and declared a protected natural reserve at the world congress of national parks in Bali in 1982, has so far been used as a research area for local universities, foreign researchers and nature enthusiasts.

Many species in the national park are found there and nowhere else, along with more common species.

For instances, wanga (Figafeta filaris), a family of endemic underwater palms growing 300 meters to 1,000 meters deep, and kangaroo similar to species found in Australia, are easily found in the park.

Leda (Eucalyotus deglupta), an odorous species in Australia, is also found in the park and has been planted outside the park as to provide the raw materials for cosmetics.
Researchers and nature lovers have identified a number of rare species such as anoa (Anoa quarlesi and depressicornis), babyrusa, celebes pig (Sus selebensis), macaca tonkeana and deer (Cervus timorensis).

Anoa, a species similar to mud buffalo, has been on the verge of extinction due to uncontrolled poaching. Tarsius, a supermini monkey with a maximum weight of 100 grams and length of 10 centimeters has been identified as an endemic species in the park.

The Central Sulawesi Nature Conservancy has discovered thousands of reptiles, fish and bird families yet to be identified.

“The national park is very rich in flora and mammals, reptiles, fish and birds,” director of the nature conservancy Ismet Khairuddin, said.

The local administration has cooperated with Tadulako University in Palu and Germany’s Storma research center to protect the park and make an inventory of the park’s species.
Ismet said further his institute has discovered 224 species of birds, 97 of which were endemic to the park. The protected bird species include the Celebes parrot (Tanygnatus sumatrana), Loriculus exilis, Trichologsus, Macrocephalon and Scolopax celebensis.

“This is why TNLL is known as the richest bird park in Indonesia,” he said.