From the charming Orangutan living in the deep tropical rainforests of Kalimantan to the legendary Komodo dragon in Flores, the Indonesian Archipelago – with its uniquely diverse natural characteristics – is home to some of the most fascinating animals of the world. To encounter these amazing creatures, one does not, however, need to make long adventurous journeys into the wild, because the animals and a whole lot of other collections can also be viewed at the Ragunan Zoological Park right in the heart of Jakarta, capital of Indonesia.
Situated in the Pasar Minggu area, in South Jakarta, the Ragunan Zoo encompasses a total area of 147 hectares. Combining the concept of zoo and park, Ragunan is inhabited by over 2,000 animals and is provided ample shade by more than 50,000 trees. Stepping into this park from the hot and overcrowded streets of Jakarta is like suddenly stepping into a cool mini tropical forest which possesses a rich biodiversity with high conservation value.
In 2002, The Schmutzer Primate Centre was opened within the Ragunan Zoological Park but is privately funded and managed separately. As one of the largest of such centers in the world, the 13 hectare special enclosure houses various primates, including gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans. The center was named after the late Pauline Antoinette Schmutzer, who donated her estate to the center. Dr Willie Smits of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation designed the orangutan enclosure so that the orangutans have as natural an environment as possible.
Home to over 270 species of animals and 171 species of flora, the Ragunan Zoo features many rare and endangered animals from all parts of Indonesia and the world. Laid out in a lush tropical setting, such indigenous animals as the Komodo dragons, orangutans, tapir, anoa, sumatran tiger, Sumatran Elephants, banteng wild oxen and more, that are given ample space here. There are also a number of birds including the Javan Peafowl, Indian Peafowl, Javan Hawk-eagle, brahminy kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Crested Serpent-eagle, Bali Starling, Lesser Bird-of-paradise, Palm Cockatoos, Common Hill Myna, cassowary, emus, ostriches, and whole lot more. There is also an aquarium that houses a number of species of fish and other sea creatures.
Ragunan Zoological Park also features a Children Zoo where children can interact and learn about the animal world. There is also a children playground and a lake with swan boats for visitors’ recreation. Those who wish to learn more about the animals can visit the animal library that provides a number of literature on animal life.
The zoological park was first established in 1864 by a Dutch East Indies flora and fauna organization of enthusiast called the Vereneging voor Planten en Dierentuin of Batavia in the Cikini area, in Central Jakarta. Indonesia’s prominent painter in the 19th century, Raden Saleh, donated about 10 hectares (25 acres) of his land for the establishment of Batavia’s first zoo in the Cikini area. In 1966 the Zoo was moved to its present location, officially opened on 22 June 1966. The former location of the Zoo was turned into the Taman Ismail Marzuki performing art center and the Jakarta Art Institute and Jakarta’s Planetarium.
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