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The ResortBunaken National Park

Bunaken National Park

The Bunaken National Park is a marine park in the north of the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. The park is located near the centre of the Coral Triangle, providing habitat to about 400 species of coral as well as many fish, reptile and marine mammal species. The park is representative of Indonesian tropical water ecosystems, consisting of sea grass plain, coral reef and coastal ecosystems.

The area was established as a national park in 1991 and is among the first of Indonesia's growing system of marine parks. It covers a total area of 890,65 km², 97% of which is marine habitat. The remaining 3% of the park is terrestrial, including the five islands of Bunaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain and Siladen. The southern part of the Park covers part of the Tanjung Kelapa coast.

The waters of Bunaken National Park are up to 1566 mtrs deep in Manado Bay, with temperatures ranging between 27 and 29 °C.

A very rich coral ecosystem covers most of Bunaken National Park, dominated by fringing reef and barrier reef corals. A distinct feature is a 25-50 mtrs vertical coral wall which is inhabited by numerous different species of coral. On land, the islands are rich in species of palm, sago, woka, silar and coconut. Among the animal species that live on the land and the beaches are Celebes Crested Macaque, Timor Deer and Sulawesi Bear Cuscus. The mangrove forest of the park contains, among others, Rhizophora and Sonneratiaspecies. This forest is also rich in species of crab, lobster, mollusc and sea birds such as gulls, herons, sea doves and storks.

About 100 species of fish live in the waters of the park, among them being the Emperor Angelfish, Almaco Jack, Spotted Seahorse, Blue stripe Snapper, Pinkish Basslet and Two-lined monocle bream. The species of mollusc include the Giant Clam, Horned Helmet Shells, Chambered Nautilus and ascidians.

Oceanic currents may partly explain why Bunaken National Park has such a high level of biodiversity. North-Eastern currents generally sweep through the park but abundant counter currents and gyros related to lunar cycles are believed to be a trap for free swimming larvae. This is particularly true on the south side of the crescent-shaped Bunaken Island, lying in the heart of the park. A snorkeler or diver in the vicinity of Lekuan or Fukui may spot many species of butterfly fish and numerous types of groupers, damsels, wrasses and gobies. The gobies, smallish fish with bulging eyes and modified fins that allow them to attach to hard surfaces, are the most diverse but least known group of fish in the park.