Urban boom threatens Jakarta wildlife reserve and monkeys

Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:21am EDT
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By Renjani Puspo Sari

JAKARTA (Reuters Life!) - The last wildlife reserve left in Indonesia's vast, traffic-choked capital is under threat from a growing tide of rubbish and angry local residents who complain that it harbors thieving monkeys.

Indonesia's surging economy and fast-growing population is driving a building boom in Jakarta, which suffers from a legacy of poor urban design and weak enforcement of planning laws.

But at the northern edge of the chaos lies a swathe of jungle and mangroves, alive with the call of birds and shriek of monkeys -- Muara Angke Wildlife reserve.

The last such reserve in Jakarta, Muara Angke's 25 hectares are a popular destination for people eager to escape the crowded streets and view the 95 Long-tailed Macaques that live there.

It also is home to 91 different bird species, several of which are endangered, as well as beavers, monitor lizards, amphibians and fish. In addition, it is a stopover for migratory birds from Russia and Australia.

But this oasis may not survive for much longer.

The monkeys, which visitors to the reserve are not allowed to feed, bear part of the blame.

Residents of a luxury residential complex in nearby Pantai Indah Kapuk have asked the managers of the reserve to eradicate the monkeys, which they say steal food and bite people.   Continued...

<p>A man collects plastic for recycling in a polluted river in a Jakarta slum October 1, 2010. REUTERS/Beawiharta</p>