Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta is a welcome relief from the chaos of Jakarta. Strolling among the 50,000 trees in the 147 hectare (363 acre) park caused me to forget I was in the middle of one of the most densely populated cities on Earth.
The zoo is home to over 3,000 animals. While Ragunan Zoo is not the best zoo in the world, it is certainly worth a visit. Much of it is not too unique – it has a lot of animals like zebras, elephants, giraffes, and deer that can be seen at pretty much any zoo.
The unfortunate thing about it is the very few people who go to tease and harass the animals. I have seen people giving ice cream to elephants, cigarette butts to orangutans, and throwing trash at Komodo dragons. There doesn’t seem to be any security on hand to prevent it – such a shame! They could really do with a strong educational campaign, and a bit stronger parental supervision.
The Schmutzer Primate center is a privately funded facility that is far superior to Ragunan Zoo itself. Built from a grant from a private party, the Schmutzer Primate Center is intended to be a research, education, and recreational facility. It has a theater, library, exhibits, as well as a vast tropical rain forest that provides an artificial environment for the gorillas, chimpanzees, gibbons, grizzled leaf monkeys, orangutans, and other primates that live there.
The Gibbon is one of the most endangered animals in Indonesia and there is a dire need for funding to feed those in rescue centers like this one, and the Cikananga Rescue Center in Malang, Java. The International Primate Protection League (IPPL) has a program to helps abandoned silvery gibbons in Indonesia.
If at all possible, go to Ragunan Zoo during the week. Weekends are very crowded with Indonesian families having a well deserved day out with the kids.
Ragunan is a great day out with friends and family. You can relax and stroll quietly through the gardens, or if you have children, there are a lot of things they’ll like. There’s a circus, boat rides, children’s zoo, and playground. Don’t worry about taking anything to eat or drink – there is an abundance of traditional foods and refreshments available. You might want an umbrella though – depending on the time of year, a afternoon downpour might be possible.
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