Wakatobi National Park is a marine national park, south of Sulawesi island of Indonesia. The name of Wakatobi is an acronym of the four main Tukangbesi Islands: Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko. Since 2005 the park is listed as a tentative World Heritage Site.
Location and Topography:
Wakatobi National Park is located south-east of Sulawesi, between the Banda Sea to the north-east and the Flores Sea to the south-west.
It consists of four larger islands: Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko, as well as many small islands such as Tokobao, North Lintea, South Lintea, Kampenaune, Hoga and Tolandono. The highest elevation is 274 metres (899 ft) on Wangi-Wangi, followed by Lagole Hill (271m) on Tomia, Terpadu Hill (222 m) on Binongko and Mount Sampuagiwolo (203 m) on Kadelupa. The water depth varies, with the deepest parts reaching 1,044 metres (3,425 ft).
Flora and Fauna:
The types of vegetation found in the national park are mangrove forest, coastal forest, lowland swamp forest, riverbank vegetation, lowland rainforest, mountain rainforest and coral reefs. The Wakatobi Archipelago has 25 groups of coral reefs including fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atolls. A survey conducted in 2003 identified 396 species of coral belonging to 68 genera and 15 families. These include Acropora formosa, Acropora hyacinthus, Psammocora profundasafla, Pavona cactus, Leptoseris yabei, Fungia molucensis, Lobophyllia robusta, Merulina ampliata, Platygyra versifora, Euphyllia glabrescens, Tubastraea frondes, Stylophora pistillata, Sarcophyton throchelliophorum, and Sinularia species. Among the recorded species of seabird are the Brown Booby, Common Kingfisher and Malaysian Plover. Turtles in the park include the Hawksbill turtle, Loggerhead sea turtle, and Olive Ridley.
The main settlement in the islands is the administrative centre for the Regency Bau-Bau. In 2001 there were nearly 90,000 people living in the islands. The indigenous people who live around the Park belong to the Bajau ethnic group. Locals still commonly use spear-fishing.
Conservation and Threats:
After the designation of the Wakatobi Marine Conservation Area in 1996, the Wakatobi National Park with a total area of 1,390,000 ha has been established in 2002. It is managed by the Wakatobi National Park Authority (Balai Taman Nasional). In 2005 the park has been listed as a tentative World Heritage Site. In 2012 it was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Major threats are posed by overfishing and destructive fishing practices, including fish bombing and poison fishing.