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BATANG GADIS NATIONAL PARK
Batang Gadis National Park, is situated in Mandailing Natal Regency (http://www.madina.go.id), North Sumatra. This regency is located between 0° 10' and 1° 50' north latitude and 98° 50' and 100° 10' east longitude and its contours are from 0 to 2.146 meters above sea level with area 662.070 hectares or about 9,23% of the whole of the North Sumatra Province. The regency consists of 322 villages and 7 wards as part of the 17 districts with population 380.546 in 2003. Its climate is a tropical rain with humidity approaximately 83%, and its rain fall average 2.728,5 millimeters per year, with average temperature 28,8 Celcius. This regency has 170 kilometers coast faces the Indian Ocean.
The Bukit Barisan mountain range becomes the sources of 7 big rivers flowing to the Indian Ocean, i.e. Batang Gadis 137, 5 kilometers, Siulangaling 46,8 kilometers, Parlampungan 38,72 kilometers, Batang Natal, Tabuyung 33,46 kilometers, Batahan 27,91 kilometers, Kunkun 27,26 kilometers and many small rivers which mixed with the big rivers in total about 271,15 kilometers long. The rivers irrigate very wide paddy fields scattered in all areas of the fertile regency. This area is welknown since mid XIX century for its famous Mandailing Coffee.
The whole area of the Batang Gadis National Park covers 108.000 hectares, is located between 00°30'00" north latitude and 99°13'00" east longitude and 01°02'00" north latitude and 99°50'00" east longitude with its contours between 300 to 2.146 meters above sea level. The higest peak of the area is the peak of the active volcano Sorik Marapi, 2.146 meters in the center of the Mandailing valley.
According to the latest research reports made by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences in cooperation with the Washington based Conservation International, Ministry of Forestry and Mandailing Natal Local Government, the Batang Gadis National Park is believed to be the richest in flora and fauna in the world. Its rain forest offers habitat for 218 kinds of birds, small and big mammalians, reptiles and amphibia. This area is considered as one of the hot spot critical ecosystem in the world, contains some of very important highly biodiversity area. Some of important flora and fauna can be found such as, Tapir, Honey bear, Sumatran elephant, Sumatran tiger, Orang Utan, Hornbill, Rhinocerous, Leopard, Golden cat, Thomas leaf monkey, diverse snakes, certain kinds of frogs, fish and more than 20 species of birds.
The National Park area has more than 100 medicinal herbs, germs, and other possible new species to be discovered in the future for scientific record. The Batang Gadis National Park is also home for 222 kinds of flora in low land and 225 kinds in the mountain forests. The camera trap also catched some species like Arctictis binturong, Hystric brachyuran, Ophioiphagus hannah, and Megaphrys nasuta.
The majority of forest areas are consist of prestine forest that produce important ecological services such as for water supply, irrigation scheme, oxygen production and agriculture for local communities in Mandailing Natal. There are also many sulfur hot springs good for skin health. The beauty scenery of the area is also an important asset for inviting visitors to come for ecotourism activities. There are also beautiful sceneries from the Sorik Marapi wide volcano caldera. There are some natural caves and some caves built by the Japanese during the World War II.
One of the uniqueness of the Batang Gadis National Park is the location of Panyabungan, the capital city of the Mandailing Natal Regency, in the center of the national park on the Trans Sumtra Highways. This city is about 400 kilometers southern of Medan, the capital city of the North Sumatra Province.
It is believed that the Batang Gadis National Park is the only National Park that was founded based on the declaration by the local people supported by the Local and National Governments. The local people fight for the conservation of the natural resources and its biodiversity to avoid the illegal logging and other natural damaging activities by local and foreign investors in the area.
The Batang Gadis National Park was installed by the National Government Act number SK.216/Menhut-II/2004 issued by the Minister of Forestry on April 29, 2004.
(Contributor: Basyral Hamidy Harahap, author of Rakyat Mendaulat Taman Nasional Batang Gadis [People Declare Batang Gadis National Park], published by the Local Government of Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra, 2005, xvi, 220 pp. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Web Site: http://basyral-hamidy-harahap.com)