Gunung Leuser National Park is one of the best known and popular parks in the Indonesian archipelago. Located in the tropical rainforest of Northern Sumatra, it is close to some of the most highly trafficked places in Indonesia, and because of this the ecosystem has suffered badly over the centuries. However, it yet remains home to a number of important species. Its most famous residents are the Orangutan, one of the largest surviving populations in the world.
Northern Sumatra is the closest point in Indonesia to the Asian mainland, being separated from the Malay Peninsulaby less than fifty miles. Because of this the area has been populated and exploited by men since early times. By the end of the Colonial era much of the island’s forests and wildlife were devastated. The area became protected as a national park in 1980. Thanks to its inland position, Gunung Leuser was spared the ravages of the 2004 tsunami. However, it is still dealing with the problem of refugees from that disaster living in the park. The park is currently part of the Tropical Forest Heritage of Sumatra world heritage site.
Gunung Leuser is one of the most representative wildlife reserves in Indonesia, with a number of big game animals resident. These include the Sumatran Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sumatran Tiger and Leopard. Most importantly it is one of two surviving habitats remaining for Orangutan on the island, and one of the largest sanctuaries for these beautiful primates anywhere.
Gunung Leuser National Park is located close to the northern end of the island of Sumatra, approximately 350 miles north of Padang. The closest major city is Kuala Lampur, though this is 220 miles to the east across the Malacca Strait. The park is open year-round. As of this writing no visitor information was available. Web: http://gunungleuser.or.id (official website).