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Mammals & Land Animals

Mammals & Land Animals
Frogs in Kerinci Seblat
Database - Mammals & Land Animals

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.

Mammal Watching

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.

Large 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 experience.
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 rabbit.
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 shrews.
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 short man.
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 souvenir.
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 1200m.
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.
Tips:
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 above.
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.

 
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