West Bali National Park (Taman Nasional Bali Barat in Bahasa Indonesia) is the most north-westerly point of Bali. It includes the whole of the Prapat Agung Peninsula, and large swathes of land around the towns of Gilimanuk, Cekik and Banyuwedang. The official area inside the park boundaries is 190 square kilometres, with a further 580 square kilometres of protected reserve in the highlands to the east. In total this accounts for some ten percent of Bali's total land area.
The habitat is very varied with rainforest, dry savanna, acacia scrub and lowland forests, as well as more montane forests in the higher centre. There are also some pockets of dense mangrove forest.
|West Bali National Park|
There are several long extinct volcanoes in the protected reserve area to the east, with Mount Patas (1,412 metres) and Mount Merbuk (1,388 metres) being the highest points. These peaks are dominant visual landscape features from within every area of the park.
One hundred and sixty species of bird have been recorded in the park, including the near extinct Bali Starling, Bali's only endemic vertebrate species, and a key reason why this national park was created in the first place. By 2001, as few as six individuals were thought to survive in the wild, all of them in this park. Since then captive breeding and re-introduction efforts have continued apace, but poaching pressures are a large problem. With that in mind, a seconf re-introduction programme was started in remote regions of Nusa Penida in 2004. Keen birdwatchers can find a checklist of likely species and their status here.
Mammals found inside the park include Banteng, a species of wild cattle from which the familiar Bali cows are descended. Java Rusa and Indian Muntjac deer are quite widespread, and Menjangan Island is in fact named after these (Menjangan means deer in Bahasa Indonesia). Wild Boar and Leopard Cats are both quite common but seldom encoutered.
A Bali Tiger (a full sub-species of Tiger) was shot here in 1937, and despite rumours to the contrary, that is the last ever confirmed sighting of an animal considered extinct since that moment.