Tucked away on the southern coast of North Sulawesi in the Manado region, Tangkoko National Park is both accessible and remote, if such a thing is possible. It is remote, as Sulawesi still gets relatively few visitors, and those that do are mainly visiting for the wildlife offshore as opposed to inland. It is accessible as it is relatively close to Manado Airport, just an hour or two’s drive.
Animals inhabiting the park are relatively used to visitors, but it rarely gets too busy. The large area of thick rainforest means that the intrepid always have the opportunity to trek deeper into the park. Venture in with one of our brilliant local guides, stray away from other visitors and enjoy the serenity, spectacular wildlife and birdlife and the feeling of being in a proper rainforest.
If Tangkoko does have worldwide fame, it is due to the recent case of the ‘monkey selfie’. The monkey concerned (on whose behalf PETA fought a notorious legal case) was, in fact, a black crested macaque. The park is home to around 1,000 of these macaques. They are a critically endangered species, but in this park, a couple of the bands are very habituated to humans and as shown by the selfie, are an extremely friendly species (though the grin is a sign of aggression in a macaque…!)
Another principle star of this show is the tiny gremlin-like tarsier, a tiny monkey species who come out hunting in the night and live in the branches of particular trees. This and their regular time-keeping habits make them relatively easy to spot with a good guide and the right timing, despite their tiny size.
Finally, and far more elusively, the couscous bear (which is not a bear, but a marsupial) can be seen high in the branches of the high jungle trees. It is a highly significant animal, representing as they do, the Australasian side of the famous ‘Wallace’ line. Lastly, there are hornbills with their huge flapping wings and many other bird species, small mammals and insect life in this lush and rich forest reserve.
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