Ministry reports increased wildlife sightings in national parks

Ministry reports increased wildlife sightings in national parks

Director general of conservation of natural resources and ecosystems (KSDAE) at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Wiratno (center), during a working visit in Malang district, East Java on Friday (October 29, 2021). (ANTARA/Vicki Febrianto/KT)

Malang, East Java (ANTARA) - There has been an increase in wildlife sightings in several national parks in Indonesia amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has said.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a halt in tourism activities, it has led to an increase in wildlife sightings, the ministry's director general of conservation of natural resources and ecosystems, Wiratno, said in Malang district, East Java on Friday.

"The number of tourists has been declining. In many national parks, many interesting wild animals arise. They usually do not show up, but now they can be seen," he explained.

Increased sightings have been reported in Baluran National Park in Situbondo district, Meru Betiri National Park in Jember district, and Banyuwangi district, he informed.

Thousands of deer, several bulls, and leopards can now be spotted in Baluran National Park, he said. Their re-appearance has even been recorded on camera, he added.

"In Baluran, there are many deer on the paths that were usually taken by tourists. There are also bulls and leopards. It is interesting as they have been captured on camera," Wiratno remarked.

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More wild animals, noticeably leopards, are being spotted in protected forest zones in Indonesia as well, he said.

The leopard sightings are an indication that existing fauna are still safe, he added.

According to him, the pandemic has signified that nature needs time to rest. With fewer visits from tourists, animals can breed quietly, he noted.

Learning from the experience, tourist visits to national parks must be properly managed so they do not interfere with the preservation of nature, including flora and fauna, he added.

"The visits must be regulated so that animals can live well," he affirmed.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has been discussing the plan for opening a Javan hawk-eagle rehabilitation center with the Malang district government.

The Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park (TNBTS), which is a part of the Malang district, is one of the areas suitable for the rehabilitation center, Malang deputy district head Didik Gatot Subroto said.

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