Coastal Conservation Profile: Cenderawasih Bay, West Papua

West Papua
Source : Observerid

Cenderawasih Bay National Park is a representative of coral reef ecosystems, beaches, mangroves, and tropical island forests in Papua and West Papua. The park is located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Based on the administrative area, it is situated in Wondama Bay Regency (West Papua) and Nabire Regency (Papua). 

Read some highlights about the coastal conservation profile of Cenderawasih Bay below.

West Papua
Source : Wilderness Travel

General Biodiversity at the Bay

Cenderawasih Bay National Park is the largest marine national park in Indonesia, consisting of land and coastal areas (0.9%), mainland islands (3.8%), coral reefs (5.5%), and ocean waters (89.8%). %). The coral potential of the park is recorded at 150 species from 15 families and is spread on the shores of 18 large and small islands. The percentage of live coral cover varied between 30.40% to 65.64%. 

Generally, coral reef ecosystems are divided into two zones, namely the reef flat zone and the reef slope zone. The types of coral that can be seen include colonies of blue coral (Heliopora coerulea), black coral (Antiphates sp.), families of Faviidae and Pectiniidae, as well as various types of soft corals. 

The percentage of hard coral cover in the Core Zone of the park ranges from 13.04% to 41.30%, showing that it is in the poor to moderate category.


Fish Paradise

Cenderawasih Bay National Park is known to be a paradise of fish species. More than 209 fish species inhabit this area, including butterflyfish, angelfish, damselfish, parrotfish, rabbitfish, and anemonefish. Based on the observations observed in September 2015 in three observation locations with an area of ​​750 m2 per observation station, most fish species found at all observation points were from the Pomacentridae and Labridae families.

This is because these two families have a high number of species for reef fish groups and occupy almost all habitats on coral reefs. Both types of families include fish that eat plankton, invertebrates, algae, mollusks, sea urchins, and small shrimps that live in coral reef habitats. Most of the target fish groups found at this observation station are members of the families Acanthuridae, Serranidae, Lutjanidae, Haemulidae, Scaridae, and Siganidae.

Types of mollusks found in the park include cowries snail (Cypraea sp.), strombidae snail (Lambis sp.), cone snail (Conus sp.), triton trumpet (Charonia tritonis), and giant clam (Tridacna gigas). There are four types of turtles that often land in this national park, namely the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), the olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivaceae), and leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). In addition, dugongs (Dugong dugon), blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), coconut crabs (Birgus latro), dolphins, and sharks are often seen in the park.


Coastal and Land Ecosystem

The coastal ecosystem found in the park includes mangrove vegetation, like Rhizophora sp. (mangroves), Sonneratia sp. (Tancang), Avicennia sp. (Api-api), Ceriops sp. (Tingi), Bruguiera sp., Xylocarpus sp., and Heritiera sp.

There are 64 types of land vegetation known, ranging from coastal forest vegetation types to island mountain forest vegetation types. Of the 64 species, 14 of them are protected. The known vegetation types include several types of mangroves (Rhizophora sp., Avicennia sp., Bruguiera sp., Sonneratia sp., Ceriops sp.), nipa palm (Nypa fructican), sago (Metroxylon sp.), pandanus (Pandanus sp.), coastal fir (Casuarina equisetifolia), ketapang (Terminalia catapa), Xylocarpus granatum, and others.

In the coastal area, there are also often found Dugong (Dugong dugon), bottle neck dolphin (Delphinus delphinus), coconut crab (Birgus latro), large cockatoo fish (bump-head parrotfish; Bolbomethopon nuricatum), spotted eagle rays (Aetobatus narinari), manta rays (Manta birostris), whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus), blacktip shark (Charcarinus melanopterus), blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), and estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). 

There are about 37 species of birds found in the park area, 18 of which are protected. Protected species include Sea Eagle (Heliaectus leucogaster) and Junai Mas (Chaloenas nicobarica). As for land fauna, of the 183 known species, 37 of them are protected.

There is indeed a lot to learn about the coastal beauty at Cenderawasih Bay, West Papua, right?

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