The following mammal list for the
National Park and adjacent areas is far from complete.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that
research on the biodiversity of the park's fauna is
still underway. The small mammals, such as the
insectivores, bats and rodents are very under-studied.
This reflects a lack of research and not a paucity of
species. The second reason is that there are mammals
living in National Parks which are still awaiting
scientific classification. Kerinci for example has
always been an area famed for its myth and magic, and
mysterious forest animals have always been a part of
this lore. The cigau forest lion is certainly no more
than a myth, while the kuda aras (described as a black
and white forest horse) undoubtedly relates to the
Asian tapir, an ancient relative of the horses. Local
people have also given descriptions of another
mysterious species - a larger species of Tragulid
(mouse-deer) known as mak gunung. Reports of this
animal are consistent and could well relate to an as
yet unidentified species. From Gunung Kerinci a
birdwatcher gave a good report of sighting a tarsier
at an altitude of 1600 meters, far above the recorded
range of Western tarsier, which is found only in the
southern lowlands of the park. This could also prove
to be an overlooked species. One of these mythical
creatures, the orang pendek, has turned out to be a
real animal, and sightings of it have been made by
researchers working in National Parks. Hopes are
that these new species will eventually be proved to
exist before their habitat vanishes, taking the secret
of their existence with them. Maybe one day in the
near future a line will be deleted from this paragraph
and a new one added to the list.
With forests ranging in elevation from
close to sea level to more than 3000m, the wildlife of
the National Parks is among the richest and most
varied in Asia, and the parks are, arguably, one of
the most important wildlife reserves in the world.
mammals are very difficult to see in the rain forest
but footprints can often be found along jungle trails.
Here a golden cat has walked to the right while a
masked palm civet has traveled to the left.
These are forests where the shy,
two-horned Sumatran rhino still roam, where tiger
patrol the night and the barking and hooting of
siamang gibbons makes the jungle dawn an unforgettable
Here it is still possible to encounter wild elephant
and Asian tapir, clouded leopard and flying squirrels
and, perhaps, with luck and patience, to see animals
found nowhere else in the world, such as the Kerinci
The number of distinct mammal species recorded is
greater than any other national park in the World and
includes many protected and endangered species. Nor
does this extraordinary total take into account the
many sub-species known to be present in the forests
such as squirrels and tree shrews or forest rats and
And discoveries are still being made and remain to be
made. An entirely black golden cat was photographed
for the first time in 1996 in the park, finally
substantiating local reports of a 'black panther'. The
Kerinci Seblat boasts one of Asia's greatest and
longest-standing natural history mysteries, the
ape-like creature known locally as orang pendek or
Do not, however, expect to see animals and birds with
the same ease as in the game parks of East Africa.
Here you will need to work to see animals and to
develop and refine your field craft. This is what
makes any sighting such a thrill and even if you see
little the experience just of "getting in
tune" with the forest will make the effort
worthwhile. Look out for tracks and learn how to
identify these from your guide. Making a plaster cast
of a footprint found in the park can be a very special
Animal species and numbers vary according to altitude
and to the type of forest. Forests ranging between 500
and 1000m are probably the richest, with the number of
species slowly beginning to drop at altitudes above
Even so, many of the park's most spectacular animals
can be encountered at higher altitudes - not least the
very rare serow, a goat antelope that inhabits the
park's higher and more inaccessible peaks. A few days
camping in the forests could, for instance, yield
sightings of Sumatran tiger, golden cat, tapir, banded
leaf monkeys, pig-tailed macaque, and siamang gibbons.
Currently there is not a mammal guide for Indonesia,
but the Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo by Juandi
Payne and Karen Phillipps covers a large number of the
species and illustrates the tracks of the main groups.
It is not available for sale in Indonesia, so buy it
before you come.
Be silent! Do not talk or smoke - the smell of
cigarettes travels far in the clean forest air.
Wear dull-colored clothes (green, black, brown) and
avoid wearing white or yellow.
Many animals use ridges to travel from place to place
and hill tops are a good place in which to simply sit
and watch. Remember that just walking through the
forest creates noise. Look for crossing points on
streams and small rivers and find a hidden viewpoint
Be patient — animals in tropical rainforest live at
low densities and local stories about "many"
tapir or "many" tiger usually refer to just
one, highly mobile animal.To see the very rare or shy
animals such as tiger or rhino can take many weeks -
or just a few hours — take local advice and an
experienced guide and go in hope, not
expectation.Discuss what you hope to see with national
park rangers. Animals which may be rare or not present
in one section of the national park may often be quite
easily seen in another area.