Way Kambas National Park

Way Kambas National Park (Indonesian: Taman Nasional Way Kambas, abbreviated TNWK) is a national park covering 1,300 square kilometres in Lampung province, southern Sumatra, Indonesia. It consists of swamp forest and lowland rain forest, mostly of secondary growth as result of extensive logging in the 1960s and 1970s.[3] Despite decreasing populations, the park still has a few critically endangered Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants and Sumatran rhinoceroses. It also provides excellent birdwatching,[4] with the rare white-winged wood duck among the over 400 species present in the park.

Way Kambas National Park
Sumatran rhino in the Way Kambas Sanctuary
Way Kambas NP
Location in Sumatra
Way Kambas NP
Way Kambas NP (Indonesia)
LocationSukadana, East Lampung Regency, Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia
Nearest cityBandar Lampung, Metro
Coordinates4°55′S 105°45′E
Area1,300 km2 (500 sq mi)[1]
Visitors2,553 (in 2007[2])
Governing bodyMinistry of Forestry

Threats to the park are posed by poaching and habitat loss due to illegal logging. Conservation efforts include patrolling and the establishment of the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary and the Elephant Conservation Centre.

In 2016, Way Kambas was formally declared an ASEAN Heritage Park.[5]

Flora and fauna

Plant species include Avicennia marina, Sonneratia species, Nypa fruticans, Melaleuca leucadendra, Syzygium polyanthum, Pandanus species, Schima wallichii, Shorea species, Dipterocarpus gracilis, and Gonystylus bancanus.[6] The sandy shores of the park are dominated by Casuarina equisetifolia.[3]

The park has 50 species of mammal, many of them critically endangered. There are about 20 Sumatran rhinoceros in the area,[7] down from around 40 in the 1990s.[8] The number of Sumatran elephants in the park was estimated to be 180 in 2005.[9] The population of Sumatran tigers has declined from 36-40 in 2000 to fewer than 30.[10] Other mammals in the park are the Malayan tapir, Sumatran dhole (Cuon alpinus sumatrensis) and siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus syndactylus).[6]

About half of the bird species inhabit the coastal swamps, including mangroves, riverine forest, freshwater and peat swamp forest, and the marshes of the area. The park is one of the last strongholds of the white-winged wood duck, with a population between 24-38 birds left, the largest in Sumatra.[3] Among the other 405 species of bird recorded in the park, are the Storm's stork, woolly-necked stork, lesser adjutant, crested fireback, great argus and Oriental darter.[6]

Among reptiles, the endangered false gharial crocodile is found in the coastal swamps.[3]

Threats and conservation

Way Kambas was established as game reserve by the Dutch administration in 1937, and in 1989 was declared a National Park.[3]

Significant encroachment has occurred along the southern boundary of the park by villagers claiming traditional land rights. Roads and trails into the park are starting points for illegal logging that penetrates into the interior of the park.[8] This resulted in the forest coverage declining to 60% of the park. In 2009-10 an area of 6,000 hectares which had been occupied by squatters for decades was cleared of them.[11]

Wells left behind by relocated communities in 1984 have proven to be deadly traps for the animals, including baby elephants, rhinos and tigers. In a conservation effort between 2008 and 2010 around 2,000 such wells have been closed.[12]

Poaching has been a significant threat,[7] often involving soldiers and in a 2002 case even military officers.[7] In recent years poaching has been reported to be more under control, with no cases of rhinoceros poaching,[7] and no cases of tiger poaching reported between 2004 and 2011.[10]

In early 2011 the Ministry of Forestry announced the allocation of funds to establish a rare flora and fauna rehabilitation centre in the park.[11]

Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary

A managed breeding centre named Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) of 250 acres (100 ha) was built up in 1995.[8] The goal of the sanctuary is to maintain a small number of rhinos for research, "insurance", awareness-building, and the long-term goal of developing a breeding program, to help ensure the survival of the species in the wild.[13] The founding population was five Sumatran rhinos, most have been moved from zoos to the large enclosures with natural habitat at the SRS. Since 1997, Rhino Protection Units have been established. These are trained anti-poaching teams of 4-6 people that patrol a minimum of 15 days per month the key areas of the park to deactivate traps and identify illegal intruders.[8] Andatu, a calf who born on June 23, 2013 is the fourth calf live in the zoo all over the world or semi-in-situ captive breeding likes in Way Kambas Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary. The mother is Ratu and the father is Andalas who came from Cincinnati, USA in 2007. In earlier October 2003, Andatu height is almost the same of the mother height.[14] The Sanctuary is not open to public. There are currently 8 rhinos living in the sanctuary, Sedah Mirah (female), Rosa (female), Bina (female), Ratu (female), Andalas (male), Harapan (male), Andatu (male) and Delilah (female). The most recent birth was of a female called Sedah Mirah in 24 March 2022.[15]

Elephant–human conflict

Elephants in the Way Kambas Conservation Centre

A significant source of conflict between the park and surrounding communities is posed by crop raiding wild elephants. In a study conducted in the 1990s, it was recorded that wild elephants damaged over 45 hectares of corn, rice, cassava, beans and other crops, and around 900 coconut, banana and other trees in 18 villages around the park. Over a period of 12 years, elephants killed or injured 24 people near the park. Villagers attempt to reduce elephant damage by guarding fields, digging trenches between, and modifying their cropping patterns.[16] In 2010 it was reported that villagers used bonfires around their homes to scare away the elephants while forest rangers have been using tame elephants to help drive away wild herds.[17]

Elephant Conservation Centre

The Elephant Conservation Centre (ECC) was established in the 1980s. The elephants in the centre have been domesticated and are used for heavy work, ecotourism, patrol and breeding.[18] Paintings created by elephants at the centre are sold by Novica, a commercial online arts agent associated with the National Geographic Society, with about half of the proceeds assisting endangered elephants throughout Asia.[19][20]

The ECC will be provided with an elephant hospital which will become the first of its kind in Indonesia and the largest in Asia. The elephant hospital will be built on a 5-hectare area with a Rp10 billion ($1.11 million) investment and expected to start operations in 2014.[21]

During 2016 and 2017, the Centre saw six new calves born.[22] Chusnunia Chalim, regent of East Lampung, has hoped to promote awareness of the whole park through the Centre.[23]


  1. World Database on Protected Areas: Record of Way Kambas National Park
  2. Forestry statistics of Indonesia 2007, retrieved 20 May 2010
  3. Zieren, M., B. Wiryawan, H.A. Susanto: Significant Coastal Habitats, Wildlife and Water Resources in Lampung, Coastal Resources Center, University of Rhode Island, USA, 1999
  4. Paul Jepson (1997) Fielding's Birding Indonesia (Periplus Editions) ISBN 1-56952-133-6
  5. Mayuga, J.L. (23 July 2016). "Indonesia's Way Kambas joins list of AHPs". BusinessMirror. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  6. Ministry of Forestry: Way Kambas National Park, retrieved 30 January 2011
  7. Oyos Saroso H.N.: Suhadi risks life for Sumatran rhinos, in The Jakarta Post, 18 July 2007
  8. International Rhino Foundation, retrieved 30 January 2011
  9. Choudhury, A.; Lahiri Choudhury, D.K.; Desai, A.; Duckworth, J.W.; Easa, P.S.; Johnsingh, A.J.T.; Fernando, P.; Hedges, S.; Gunawardena, M.; Kurt, F.; Karanth, U.; Lister, A.; Menon, V.; Riddle, H.; Rübel, A.; Wikramanayake, E. & IUCN SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group (2008). "Elephas maximus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T7140A12828813. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T7140A12828813.en.
  10. Oyos Saroso H.N: Sumatran tigers nearly extinct in Way Kambas, in The Jakarta Post, 18 January 2011
  11. Oyos Saroso H.N.: Environment Watch: Govt to pump money into embattled national park in The Jakarta Post, 28 January 2011
  12. Save Indonesian Endangered Species Fund, retrieved 31 January 2011
  13. International Rhino Foundation: Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, retrieved 31 January 2011
  14. "In Way Kambas, saving the Sumatran rhino". October 22, 2013.
  15. Budiman, Budisantoso (2022-06-14). "Mengenali nama-nama badak bercula dua di Taman Nasional Way Kambas". ANTARA News Lampung (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  16. Philip J. Nyhus, Ronald Tilsona and Sumianto: Crop-raiding elephants and conservation implications at Way Kambas National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia, in Oryx, Volume 34, Issue 4 (2000)]
  17. Oyos Saroso H.N.: Elephant movement leaves crops in danger, in The Jakarta Post, 31 July 2010
  18. Save Indonesian Endangered Species Fund: Way Kambas Elephant Conservation Centre Archived 2011-07-28 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 31 January 2011
  19. Mayell, Hillary (June 26, 2002). "Painting Elephants Get Online Gallery". National Geographic News. National Geographic Society. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  20. "Elephant Art Photo Gallery". National Geographic Society. 2002. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  21. "Hospital built for elephants in Lampung". January 31, 2012.
  22. Lampung national park welcomes birth of sixth baby elephant. Jakarta Post, 8 June 2017. Accessed 18 March 2018.
  23. East Lampung promotes national park with camping tour, festival. Jakarta Post, 29 August 2017. Accessed 18 March 2018.
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