Meru Betiri National Park
This is a strange and unusual park due to its remoteness allowing it to hold its natural charm and wild virtues. With 50,000 hectares, this park holds a fantastic evergreen jungle that is waiting to be discovered. Around 200 km from Surabaya and 75km from the main Bali to Java port, Ketapang, the main entrance to the park is through the village of Sarongan.
The grounds touch the water and rise to the peak of Gunung Betiri. In between lies the homes of a wide variety of fauna. The most elusive of which is the Javan Tiger. It was last seen in 1990 and is believed to be extinct. Yet there lies hope that this wonderful creature still does grace the jungle floor.
Most people come to this park to witness the rejuvenation of life. In the dark of night a visitor arrives on the shores of Sukamade Beach pushing their way up the beach weary of any potential predators. Once they are satisfied they dig a hole in a secluded spot and place the next generation within, fill the hole and return to the sea. This journey is made by 4 types of turtle and has become quite a spectator sport from the months of October to March.
The eggs that are left face the great danger of being dug up by wild animals and even wilder humans who sell the eggs as culinary delicacies. That is why the National park has a process of placing the eggs into protected areas of the long beach that can be watched and maintained. After 2 months of isolation below layers of sand, the eggs hatch and the tiny turtles tunnel their way to the surface. Remarkably they intuitively head towards the lapping of the waves and their new home, the seas and oceans that encompass Indonesia. This journey is fraught with danger and sadly fewer and fewer turtles are seen every year.
This is where Eco-tourism makes a difference; special tours and observation posts are organized by the national park at Sukamade Beach, which allow you to witness the Turtles journey for life. The money raised then in turn pays for the park to protect these animals and allows future generations to return to these safe shores.