Observe and enjoy the beauty of the sea in Taka Bonerate National Park

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Taka Bonerate is designated as a national park due to its healthy uniquely ring shaped coral reef ecosystem. (photo: IO/Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – Taka Bonerate Nation­al Park has been known since time immemorial. This area was even designated as a conservation area by the Dutch in the colonial era. From the relics of the map in 1901 this area was known by the Dutch, but not as Taka Bonerate. Instead as, Tijger Eilanden, or in Indone­sian, the Tiger Islands (Kepulauan Macan). No one knows for sure why it’s called the Tiger Islands. After being crowned as a conservation area, the Dutch changed it to Taka Bonerate, which was taken from the local language. “Taka is a coral, Bone is sand, and the rate is above, so if interpreted literally ‘Overlay of Coral Over Sand’. Until now the status of conservation areas has gradually increased. From con­servation areas to marine reserves through Forestry Minister Decree No. 100 / kpts-II / 1989.

Taka Bonerate is designated as a marine nature reserve because Taka Bonerate has a ring-shaped reef (atoll) and there are special habitats and coral reef ecosystems (seagrass). All of that wealth was designated for a long time for the purpose of research, science, edu­cation, supporting cultivation, tour­ism and recreation. In 1992, Taka Bonerate was appointed National Park (TN), in 2001 it became a Na­ture Conservation Area of the Taka Bonerate National Park, with an area of 530,765 hectares managed by a zoning system. UNESCO Inter­national Institution began to look at Taka Bonerate National Park in 2015. At that time, Taka Bonerate National Park was named the core zone of the biosphere reserve the size of one Selayar Islands district with the name Taka Bonerate Bio­sphere Reserve – Selayar Islands. Until now, Taka Bonerate National Park covers 18 small islands, five flowers, and 30 scattered taka form a ring / atoll.

There are seven inhabited is­lands, Tarupa Island, Pulau Rajuni Kecil, Pulau Rajuni Besar, Pulau Latondu Besar, Jinato Island, Cen­tral Pasitallu Island, and East Pasi­tallu Island which are inhabited by a majority of Bugis and Bajo tribes.

“The Bajo tribe in Taka Boner­ate is different from other tribes in South Sulawesi. They live on the sandy island which can at any time have tides,” Basri said as a tour guide. He said, according to information from the local commu­nity, from the past even from the Dutch era the Taka Bonerate area was often visited by fishermen from various regions because of its fish­ing potential. Vice versa. The Taka Bonerate fishermen traveled to oth­er areas to sell their seafood. So the fisheries sector in Taka Bonerate has been well developed since long ago.

With the potential of exten­sive coral reefs, Taka Bonerate is a divers’ paradise. In 2015, there were 16 favorite dive spots in Taka Bonerate National Park for tourists. At present, according to Basri it has increased to 19 dive points, which have different characters. While the most favorite diving points are still around Tinabo Island, besides being easy to reach, you can also dive in with a beginner diver. Some diving spots include Ibel Orange, Acropora Point, Caldera, Fish Well, Wall Reef, and Corina Corner.

“Actually the potential recorded around 29 points, but the new bus­tling 19, to safeguard the ecosystem at the same time is still being fur­ther investigated,” said Basri.

Seven major islands in Taka Na­tional Park Bonerate are inhabited islands for generations. Its inhabi­tants are Bajo, Bugis, and Selayar (Buton and Flores). It is this plu­rality that is interesting to be en­joyed as a cultural tour. This com­munity civilization has become its own attraction, each of which has a cultural peculiarity surrounded by maritime culture and a very strong Islamic nuance. Some tra­ditions that often invite tourists’ admiration are the Bajo wedding procession, the bathing of syafar, and traces of other cultural relics.

With high biodiversity, Taka Bonerate National Park can be the target of education and research locations, especially in the field of marine fisheries. You can observe unique ecosystems, biota and landscapes. In addition, research­ers and tourists can also help with coral transplants, tree planting, and other educational tours. For those of you who cannot swim or dive, don’t worry, because there are many other marine tours that can be enjoyed here. Among others, en­joy sunrise and sunset, canoeing, bird watching, if you are lucky to be able to watch dolphins.

“The hope for the tourism sector in the future can develop well too, so that Taka Bonerate can be better known even to foreign countries,” Basri concluded. (Aldo)