The Bekantan and Mangrove Conservation Park
The Bekantan and Mangrove Conservation Park is located about 1 km from the city center of Tarakan in the province of North Kalimantan, and just along the highway out of the city. This site has as its chief inhabitants a large family of proboscis monkeys, called Bekantan. These long nosed and large bellied monkeys are endemic to the island of Borneo, mostly found on the Indonesian side called Kalimantan. They are reddish brown and are often referred to as Arborial Old World monkeys. They usually live near water sources, and are good swimmers. Since they are not aggressive, Bekantans are now on the IUCN Red List as Threatened Species. Their habitat in Kalimantan are, among others, at the Danau Sentarum National Park, Gunung Palung National, Tanjung Puting National Park and the Kutai National Park.
The Conservation Park was started by the first mayor of Tarakan, Jusuf SK, who determined that the city needed to protect a 9 hectares mangrove forest. At first there were only two proboscis monkeys living in this forest, but these soon multiplied to the present 35 comprising of adults, youngs and babies. The animals in the Tarakan Conservation Park are used to humans, despite the fact that bekantans are normally shy animals-they do not run away when they see visitors, so that it is quite easy to take pictures of them in action from a close distance of only 5 meters.
The Walkways are pretty wide between 1.5-2 meters. Best time to watch Bekantans is between 11:00 PM - 02:00 PM Central Indonesia Time, since this is the time that they come down from the forest to eat the extra bananas specially given to them by rangers.