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Ujung Kulon National Park

Ujung Kulon National Park (means : Western Tip) is located at the western-most tip of Java, Banten, Indonesia. It includes the volcanic island group of Krakatoa and other islands including Panaitan, Handeuleum and Peucang on the Sunda Strait.

The park encompasses an area of 1,206 km² (443 km² marine), most of which lies on a peninsula reaching into the Indian Ocean. The explosion of nearby Krakatau in 1883 produced a tsunami (giant wave) that eliminated the villages and crops of the coastal areas on the western peninsula, and covered the entire area in a layer of ash averaging 30 cm thick. This caused the total evacuation of the peninsula by humans, thereby allowing it to become a repository for much of Java’s flora and fauna, and most of the remaining lowland forest on the island.

It is Indonesia's first proposed national park and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 for containing the largest remaining lowland rainforest in Java.

It is also one of only two homes of the critically endangered Javan Rhinoceros. A population of fifty to sixty live in Ujung Kulon with a smaller population of possibly 10 or less living in Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam.

Within the last 10 years there have been 14 rhino births identified using camera and video traps. After several male calves were born, there was a documented female birth which will allow the population to remain viable. After February 2011, video and camera trap management will be fully conducted by Ujung Kulon National Park Authority.

The park protects 57 rare species of plant. The 35 species of mammal include Banteng, Silvery Gibbon, Javan Lutung, Crab-eating Macaque, Leopard, Java Mouse-deer and Rusa Deer. There are also 72 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 240 species of birds.

The status of crocodilians within the park is largely unknown- sightings are rare, but do occasionally occur. There are reports of the false gharial within the park, but these are not confirmed. In addition, the saltwater crocodile was historically present throughout Java's coastal river systems but is currently extinct within these regions. Small, isolated populations of the saltwater crocodile are reported to exist within Ujung Kulon but confirmation is needed.

Parts of today's national park and World Heritage site have been protected since the early 20th century. Karakatoa Island was declared a Nature Reserve in 1921, followed by Pulau Panaitan and Pulau Peucang Nature Reserve in 1937, the Ujung Kulon Nature Reserve in 1958, the Gunung Honje Nature Reserve in 1967, and most recently Ujung Kulon National Park in 1992. In 2005 the park was designated as an ASEAN Heritage Park.

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