Gunung Leuser National Park – North Sumatra




The Leuser Ecosystem is an outstanding wilderness in northern Sumatra. It is one of the richest expanses of tropical rain forest in Southeast Asia. More than 2.5 million hectares in size, it is the last place on earth where elephants, rhinos, tigers the population of the Sumatran Tiger is about 400 species, clouded leopards, and orangutans are found within one area. Together with Bukit Barisan Selatan and Kerinci Seblat national parks it forms a World Heritage Site, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra.

The Leuser Ecosystem has an enormous level of biodiversity. It contains at least 127 mammal species. About 8,500 different plant species grow in the beach, swamp, lowland, mountain and alpine ecosystems of the Leuser Ecosystem. Of the 10,000 plant species recorded in the West Indo-Malayan Region, 45% are found in the Leuser Ecosystem. Spectacular plants such as Rafflesia (the largest flower in the world) and Amorphophallus (the tallest flower in the world) are among the plants protected there.


Because of the great differences in altitude and the diversity in soil, the Gunung Leuser National Park has an enormous wealth of plant species. About 8,500 different species grow in the beach, swamp, lowland, mountain and alpine woods of the park.

In the beach and swamp forest you find Casuarina trees (Casuarina sp.), Wild Nutmeq (Myristica sp.), Campfor or Kapur baros (Drybalancops aromatica), Nibung palms, Rotan (Calamus sp.), Mangrove trees or Api-api (Avicennia sp.) and Pandan (Pandanus sp.). Along the rivers grows Pometia pinnata.

In the lowland forest, trees like Meranti (Shorea sp.), Keruing (Dipterocarpus sp.), Camfor and Damar (Hopea sp.) and several wild fruit trees like Durian (Durio zibethinus), Mango or Mangga (Mangifera indica), Wild Banana, citrus fruit and wild jack fruit grow in abundance.

In the mountain and and alpine woods, several species of moss and wild flowers: Gentians, Primula’s, Strawberry, herbs, and wild orchids are found. The Rafflesia Arnoldi or Bunga padma (Rafflesia sp.) grows here also.


About 700 different species of animals (320 birds, 176 mammals and 194 reptiles and amphibians) live in the Gunung Leuser National Park. In Ket lies lake Banko, the last place in North Sumatra where the Swamp Crocodile lives.


Sumatran Rhinoceros or Badak Sumatera (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), Sumatran Elephant or Gajah (Elephas maximus sumatrana), Otters or Berang berang (Lutra sp.), Wild Boar, Red Giant Flying Squirrel (Petaurista petaurista), Malayan Sunbear or Beruang madu (Helarctos malayanus), Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus), Hog Badger (Arctonyx collaris), Lesser Mousedeer or Kancil (Tragulus javanicus), Large Mousedeer or Napu (Tragulus napu), Barking Deer or Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak), Sambar Deer (Cervus unicolor), Sumatran Tiger or Harimau (Panthera tigris sumatrae), Clouded Leopard or Harimau dahan (Neofelis nebulosa), Flat- headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps), Temminck’s Golden Cat (Catopuma temminckii), Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), Flying Lemur or Tando (Cynocephalus variegatus), Orang Utan (Pongo pygmaeus abelii), Thomas’s Leaf Monkey or Kedih (Presbytis thomasi), Banded Leaf Monkey or Simpei (Presbytis femoralis), Silvered Leaf Monkey (Trachypithecus cristatus), Long-tailed Macaque or Kera (Macaca fascicularis), Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina), White-handed Gibbon or Sarudung (Hylobates lar), Siamang (Hylobates syndactylus), Sumatran Serow (Capricornis sumatraensis).


Swamp Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Flying Frog or Kodok (Rhacaphorus pardalis), Flying Snake (Crysopelea), Common Flying Lizard (Draco volans), Hawksbill Turtle or Penyu sisik (Eretmochelys imbricata), Leatherback Turtle or Penyu belimbing (Dermochelys coriacea), Water Monitor (Varanus salvator).


Argus Pheasant (Argusianus argus), Asian Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris), Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros), White-bellied Sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster), Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (Loriculus galgulus), Osprey (Pandion haliaetus).

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