The South Sumatra provincial administration will develop Sembilang National Park in Banyuasin II district, Banyuasin regency, as an eco-tourism destination, to attract local and foreign visitors.
The park comprises peatland, freshwater swamps and riparian forests, spans 205,750 hectares and borders Berbak National Park in Jambi province, said park center head Sumantri in Palembang recently.
He said the center is conducting research and preparing feasibility studies, expressing optimism many visitors would be fascinated by the diverse ecosystem and natural beauty of the park.
Its ecosystem includes diverse mammals, such as flying foxes, wild boars, gray long-tailed monkeys, short-tailed squirrels, aquatic civets and otters and swamp cats.It is also home to reptiles including the delta crocodile and monitor lizard.
It is also the habitat for thousands of migrating birds from Siberia, which peak in October. Other bird species include the Asian blekok (Limnodromus semipalmatus), dotted trinil (Pseudototanus guttifer), white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), white bluwok (Mycteria cinerea), Javan stork (Leptoptilos javanicus) and white-winged sea doves (Chlidonias Leucoptera).
The park is crisscrossed by more than 20 rivers that empty in Bangka Strait and is an ideal breeding place for birds.
The Sembilang coastal area and Banyuasin cape provide the habitat of the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae), Sumatran elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus), tapir (Tapirus indicus), gibbon (Hylobates syndactylus), golden civet (Catopuma temminckii), sambar deer (Cervus unicolor equinus), crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), monitor lizard (Varanus salvator), sembilang fish (Plotusus canius), giant tortoise (Chitra indica), fresh-water dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) and assorted bird species.
The park is also rich in flora, such as giant ferns (Acrostichum aureum), nipah palm (Nypa fruticans), sea pine (Casuarina equisetifolia), pandan (Pandanus tectorius), sea hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus), nibung (Oncosperma tigillaria), jelutung (Dyera costulata), menggeris (Koompassia excelsa) and gelam tikus (Syzygium inophylla).
It is strategically located and easily accessible by motorboat from the provincial capital Palembang, taking around four hours to reach. The trip will be shorter when the international Tanjung Api-Api Port starts operation.