Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sulawesi Island

Sulawesi Island

Sulawesi Island
By Joni Albert Purba

Sulawesi - An amazing diversity of societies exists here, with a distinct separation of old and new, traditional and modern within the many cultures themselves. This variety, along with some spectacular mountains, coastline, lakes and plains, makes Sulawesi a highly visited island. Many species of fauna found in Sulawesi can not be found else where in the world, like the black macaque, the babirusa wild boar, the anoa dwarf buffalo, the eccentric maleo bird, the saucer-eyed tarsier, and many beautiful and colorful butterflies. Transportation has improved greatly and a road now connects the whole way between Ujung Pandang (or Makassar) in the south and Manado in the far north.Sulawesi straddles Wallace's Line meaning that it has a mix of both Asian and Austronesian species. However, the majority of Sulawesi's wildlife belongs to the Australasia region. 2,290 km² of the island is devoted to Lore Lindu National Park.

There are 127 known mammalian species in Sulawesi. A large percentage of these mammals, 62% (79 species) are endemic, meaning that they are found nowhere else in Indonesia or the world. The largest native mammal in Sulawesi is the dwarf buffalo, locally known as the anoa. By contrast, because many birds can fly between islands, Sulawesian bird species tend to be found on other nearby islands as well, such as Borneo; only 34% of Sulawesi's birds are found nowhere else. The most important among these last is the maleo, a bird that spends most of its time on the ground. It has undergone an observed very rapid decline.

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