President Jokowi to Inaugurate Zamrud National Park of Riau

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Jakarta (Greeners) – President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo will be inaugurating Zamrud National Park of Siak district in Riau in conjunction with World Environment Day (WED), said a senior official, in Jakarta, on Tuesday (12/7).

Zamrud National Park, which covers 31,480 ha of areas, used to be Tasik Serkap Wildlife Reserve and Production Forest before turned its function based on Environment and Forestry Ministerial Letter issued on May 4, 2016.

Syamsuar, head of Siak district, said that local government had been proposing Zamrud as national park since 2010 for its unique landscape of lakes. There are two lakes, — Pulau Besar Lake (2,146 ha) and Bawah Lake (360 ha) –, in Zamrud village of which becomes the namesake of the park.

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Zamrud lake can be reached through land travel within three hours from Pekanbaru, Riau’s capital. Unfortunately, the site can only be reached through cars as there are no public transportation available.

Based on Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency data, there are 38 bird species in the location, 12 of them are protected, including White stork bird, hornbills, and blue-crowned hanging parrot (Loriculus galgulus) which is the province’ mascot. In addition, the park is also the home for siamang, sumatran tiger, sun bear, and flat-headed cat.

Meanwhile, the lake has at least 14 fish species of which eight of them hold economical values, such as sipimping (Oxygaster), selais (Kryptopterus), kayangan (Scleropages formosus), tapah (Wallago attu), baung (Hemibagrus), toman (Channa micropeltes), balido (Chitala lopis), and gelang fish.

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Arsyadjuliandi Rachman, Riau Governor, said that Zamrud lake was initially a wildlife reserve closed for public nevertheless prone to encroachment and illegal hunting.

Before turned into a wildlife reserve, the area was one of oil well operated by PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia, which is now PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia since 1975. The well was named Zamrud site. In 2002, Zamrud site was run by Joint Operation Agency between PT Bumi Siak Pusako – PT Pertamina Hulu.

Besides mining activities, other activities near the wildlife reserve were people’s plantations and Industrial Plantation Forest (HTI) owned by PT Arara Abadi, PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper, PT Ekawana Lestaridharma and PT National Timber.

Governor Rachman said that all activities inside and near the areas affected the sustainability of the wildlife reserve.

“From direct assessment in the field, threats of this wildlife are increasing as we found encroachment and illegal logging,” he added.

Reports by Danny Kosasih

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