Sentarum Lake : Sometimes Full Of Water Sometimes Dry

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Sentarum Lake
Sentarum Lake – Photo by common.wikimedia

Sentarum Lake National Park (DSNP) is one of Indonesia’s amazing natural wealth that is located  in Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan Province.

Sentarum National Park stretches in the center of the Island of Borneo and play vital role for anyone  living along the river path. The national park was recognized as one of the Ramsar sites, an international agreements to protect nature conservation.

With an area of approximately 132,000 hectares, the area of Sentarum National Park encompasses seven districts, namely: Batang Lupar, Selimbau, Badau, Jongkong, Bunut Hilir, Suhaid, and Semitau. TNDS is one remaining regional flood overlay and  the most extensive one that is still in good condition in Indonesia, even in Southeast Asia.

Sentarum Lake actually is a seasonal lake that became a giant vat of water during the rainy season. However, its surface face turned into a dry field during the dry season. The ratio between wet and dry condition is 10:2, ten months full of water and two months dry.

During the rainy season, the lake serves as a regional rainwater cistern for the Kapuas river and lake water, in the dry season will move to fill the shortage of water discharge in the Kapuas River thus changing Sentarum Lake into a giant dry field.

Lake Sentarum is supported by the two main rivers,  Tawang and Leboyan River. Tawang river connects the Kapuas River with Sentarum lake in Sentarum National Park. While Leboyan River headwaters to the Embaloh River.

Sentarum lake water has a reddish black color because it contains tannin, derived from peat forests in the vicinity. The lake is located in a wetlands and tropical forests.

At high tide, the depth of the lake Sentarum can reach 6 to 15 meters. At low tide, the lake leaving only a few points of water as a source of life for the creatures that hide behind a thicket.

Variety of life in Sentarum Lake

Orang Utan
Orang Utan

TNDS has been known to be a habitat for

  • 265 species of freshwater fish
  • 675 species of plants
  • 147 species of mammals
  • 311 species of birds
  • 265 species of fish
  • 64 species of reptiles and amphibians
  • 154 species of natural orchids.

Some endemic, ie animals and plants typical of this area have been partially identified and recorded by scientists. The name can be mentioned like

  • meranti (Shorea sp)
  • keruing (Dipterocarpus sp)
  • ironwood (Eusideroxylon zwageri)
  • tembesu or tallow (Shorea beccariana)
  • jelutung (Dyera costulata)
  • ramin (Gonystylus bancanus)

In addition, there are some other unique creatures live in the jungle near the lake . Some species may be encountered if we walk in the forest like

  • a large squirrel (Ratufa affinis)
  • bears (Helarctos malayanus)
  • tree tiger (Neofelis nebulosa)
  • gibbon (Hylobates muelleri)
  • proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus)
  • orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)
  • squirrel (Callosciurus notatus, C. Prevostii)
  • long-tailed monkey (Macaca fascicularis)

Some types of beautiful birds can be found also in the jungle, such as kingfishers (Halcyon capensis), hornbills (Rhinoplax vigil), hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros), eagle white head (Haliastur Indus), and  kingfisher (Alcedo Meninting).

King fisherThe this lake means a lot, for the life of flora and fauna, as well as for humans. Therefore, the preservation this lake for the sustainability of life on the lake, at the river end, and everything in between is a must.

The way of living

Residents living around the lake is approximately 20,000 people . The covering 45 permanent hamlets  and 10 seasonal hamlets. They mostly work as farmers and fishermen. However, when the lake receded, people switch professions become fish or honey seller,

People live around Lake Sentarum already familiar with natural remedies to cure disease . Some species have been known to be utilized for this purpose like Ambong-Ambong (Blumea balsamifera), the roots of the fig (Ficus sp), acid kandis (Garnia sp), and many others.

This place should be suitable for you vacation subject you are the one who enjoy to walk down woods, hiking, camping.

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