We have said many times that Indonesia is one of our favourite destinations, we talked about the most famous places to visit in Indonesia and about their delicious Indonesian dishes, but we can tell you that by far, our first reason to visit the country (and also the reason why we would love to go back), is that Indonesia is a paradise for animal lovers.
Today we are going to tell you about the wildlife in Indonesia, about the animals you are able to see there and about the best places to see them. Before we start, we want to advise you that in this list you will only find the wild animals of Indonesia, we do not support any zoo or “fake sanctuary” where animals are not free and have their own rights.
See below our list with the top 10 Indonesian animals:
National animal of Indonesia
Every country has a national animal, for example, in China is the Panda and in India is the tiger, but which is the Indonesian national animal?
1) The Komodo Dragon
Yes! That´s right, if you were thinking about the Komodo dragon, you were right! The Komodo is not only a symbol of Indonesia but also their most popular animal by far.
Most of the tourists who travel to Indonesia every year, make a stop to visit the famous Komodo dragon island, which is part of the Sunda islands, the only place on earth where you can see these animals.
The Komodo dragon is an ancient animal from Indonesia, that can have a length up to 3 meters and i the biggest living lizards in the world.
Endemic species: Animals only found in Indonesia
Other than the Komodo dragon, which is an endemic specie of Indonesia, there are many other animals that can only be found in this country.
The orangutan, the Sumatran elephant, the Sumatran rhino and many others are endemic from Sumatra and Borneo, but in case you didn´t know it yet, Borneo has a big part in Malaysia and another part in Indonesia, that´s why we can´t consider those animals endemic from Indonesia.
Next you will find two of the animals that can only be seen in Indonesia:
2) The Sumatran tiger
The tiger of Sumatra is one of the few exceptions of animals that are living in Sumatra but not in Borneo, for that reason it´s considered an endemic animal from Indonesia.
This type of tiger is one of the most endangered species in the world, there are only around 400/500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.
The Sumatran tiger can be distinguished from other tiger species thanks to its darker colour and smaller size. Seeing one in the wild is very complicated, so if you are lucky enough to see them, we are going to beg you to be respectful with the tiger as it can disappear any time soon.
3) Crested black macaque
Another of the native animals in Indonesia is the black ape, or also known as the crested macaque. Of this primate we can highlight its colours as they are fully black but with incredible ambar eyes.
The main reason why this animal become so popular is because of a selfie one of the primates took with a camera of a wildlife photographer some years ago.
Nowadays, you can find them in the island of Sulawesi, but unfortunately, they are another of the endangered species of Indonesia. There is a campaign to save this monkey, so hopefully they start increasing their numbers again soon.
Animals in Indonesian rainforest
Indonesia is considered for many people one of the countries with a higher level of biological diversity on earth, and that´s mainly because its rainforest.
Just so you can have an idea of how huge an important is the rainforest of Indonesia, it´s after the Amazonas and Africa´s Congo Basin, the third largest rainforest area in the world.
Next, we will show you some of the wildlife of the Indonesian rainforests:
4) The Sumatran Orangutan
The brown/orange primate is known for being one of the principal reasons why tourists visit Indonesia. Borneo and Sumatra are the only place on earth where you will be able to see orangutans in the wild.
Unfortunately, there are very bad news about the red ape… The orangutans of Indonesia and Malaysia are suffering and incredible loss of habitat because of deforestation. Many animals, not just the orangutans are in danger of being extinct because of a massive expansion of palm oil plantations.
What we all can do to stop this is, first, stop consuming all types of products with palm oil, and second, you can sign the petition of Greenpeace to end the dirty palm oil. This will for sure put more pressure on governments and brands to do as much as possible for this cause.
5) Sumatran and Javan Rhinos
Other animals you can find in the Indonesian rainforests are the Indonesian rhinos. While the Sumatran rhinos are located in Borneo and Sumatra, the Javan rhinos are in the island of Java, being more concrete in the Ujung Kulon National Park, as it´s one of the few places where they are still alive.
The Sumatran rhinoceros are different from any other type of rhino on earth as they are the smallest of their own and the only Asian rhino with two horns.
Both types of Rhinos are in a huge danger of being extinct, there are only between 58 and 68 Javan rhinos and less than 80 Sumatran rhinos. These animals not only suffer the deforestation of the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia, but also the poaching, which is the biggest reason why they may become extinct one day.
6) Borneo Elephants
The Borneo elephant is another of the animals that live in Indonesia. It´s also known as the Borneo pygmy elephant and it´s one of the subspecies of the Asian elephants. These are located in the northeast of Borneo.
These elephants are different from any other type of elephant, they have a baby elephant face but with huge size ears, plus their tail is so long that sometimes touches the ground. The pygmy elephants are the smallest in all Asia.
Nowadays, there is a total of around 1500 Borneo elephants in the wild, they are another of the endangered species of the rainforests of Indonesia, and of course, the main reason is once again the loss of habitat.
7) Proboscis Monkey
We are sure you have heard before about the Proboscis monkey, famous mainly for its huge nose. Although this animal is more famous for being a Malaysian animal than Indonesian, the truth is that its location is Borneo so you can actually find it in both countries.
One of the most interesting fact about the Proboscis monkey is that they use their nose to attract the females and intimidate their rivals. Another curiosity about this monkey is that they are very good swimmers.
The Proboscis monkey is another of the endangered animals of Indonesia, their major threat is the deforestation and the humans who hunt them.
Wild birds in Indonesia
We have seen many lists of Indonesian animals, and they all tend to forget about their birds, which are one of their biggest attractions. Just so you can have an idea, Indonesia is known as the bird paradise and 17% of all the birds in the world live in Indonesia.
Again, there are many, many types, so we couldn´t talk about all of them, but these are two of the most famous birds in Indonesia:
8) The Cassowary
We have selected the cassowary because is one of our favourite animals, but also because is an unique specie known as the “Dinosaur bird” because it has many characteristics typical from the dinosaurs.
The Cassowary is more typical from New Guinea and Australia, but you can also see it in Indonesia in the area of West Papua.
The Cassowary is famous for many things, their blue and red colours, their green eggs, their dinosaur style legs and unfortunately they are also known for being one of the most dangerous animals in Indonesia, but you just have to let them be free in the wild and they won´t hurt nobody.
9) Wrinkled hornbill
The Wrinkle hornbill or also known by its scientific name, the Aceros corrugatus is a bird located in 4 different countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Thailand, but it´s main locations are Borneo and Sumatra.
This bird is striking because of its red and yellow colours, plus the male has a major difference from the female as it has a blue colour skin around its eyes.
Luckily, the bird is not yet on high risk of extinction because is very important for their native forest as they are seed dispersers for other plants.
Sea animals in Indonesia
Last of all, we are going to talk about the sea animals of the country. The fauna of Indonesia is also incredible under the water, with Australia and the Philippines, Indonesia is one of the top 3 countries to do snorkel and scuba diving.
You will be able to admire all kinds of ocean wildlife, from the clown fish, to the most dangerous octopus in the world, sea turtles and much more!
10) Giant Manta ray of Indonesia
The Giant Manta is one of the most impressive animals on earth, as it´s not only the biggest type of manta, but also one of the biggest fishes in the world. It can grow up to 7 m (23 ft) and a weight of 3000 kg (6500 lb). It´s huge!
Actually, the giant manta is not an animal typical only from Indonesia, it travels trough almost all the places on earth, from California to Egypt, Japan or New Zealand.
We choose it to finish our top 10 list of Indonesian animals, because there is a season of the year, where you can appreciate many giant manta rays swimming all together in Indonesia, and that is something impressive to see.
Best places to see wildlife in Indonesia
If you are like us and you don´t care which animal to see, you just want to see animals in the wild and be surprised with the wildlife of each scenery, you should know that Indonesia has plenty of natural areas with different type of sceneries that look from out of this planet.
Next you will find the 10 best places to see animals in Indonesia:
Komodo National Park: Admire the ancient Komodo dragons
Ujung Kulon National Park: See the last wild java rhinos in the world
Raja Ampat: A paradise under the water
Tanjung Puting National Park: One of the best places to see orangutans
Tangkoko National Park: See the Tarsiers Tangkoko and the black macaque.
Enjoy the fauna of Indonesia
That´s it, that´s all you need to know about the wild animals in Indonesia. Of course, there are many more species in Indonesia and some of them are almost undiscovered by humans, so we just recommend you travel to Indonesia and admire its wilderness with your own eyes.
Hope you enjoyed reading about the fauna in Indonesia, and if you have any other question or suggestion, please let us know.