I never thought such place exists in Surabaya. It’s called Wonorejo Mangrove Forest Tour. This is one of Pamurbaya (Pantai Timur Surabaya a.k.a. East Coast Surabaya) ecotourism sectors, beside Gunung Anyar mangove conservation. You should not come there if you are not interested with ecology, especially with the nature life of the mangrove forest.
For me, there are many interesting facts. Wonorejo, for example, is where the long-tail monkey (Macaca fascicularis) or crab-eating monkey lives. This monkey adores to eat crabs which are lured by its tails. If you are lucky enough, you will see this unique fishing method there.
The Wonorejo mangrove forest is also the location of various species of reptiles refugee, like python (Python reticulatus), big lizard (Varanus salvator), percil jawa (Microhyla acanthine), ular tambak (Cerberus rhynchops). “Even the crocodile,” said a tour guide to me.
Enough talking. Let sail away! The resort management, Forum Komunikasi Polisi Masyarakat (FKPM) of Rungkut District, has prepared two boats for you, complete with the safety vests. Each boat can carry 40 passengers. The rent price is only IDR 350,000. If you visit it alone or in small group, it will be IDR 20,000 per head.
The boat moved from the quay at the Wonokromo River into the Madura Strait. Turn your head, you will see the thick of mangrove forest and vegetation everywhere. Also, watch those birds flying and perch on the mangrove branches.
Some of them are endemic bird of Java island, e.g. cerek jawa (Charadrius javanicus) and bubut jawa (Centropus nigrorufous) alias Javan Coucal. This shy bird species is considered threatened in all over the world. Outside the Pamurbaya, Javan Coucal can only be found in Muara Angke (Jakarta), Muara Gembong (Bekasi), Muara Cimanuk, Ujung Pangkah, Sidoarjo and Cilacap.
There are at least 140 species of Java island biggest birds exist on the Wonorejo mangrove forest conservation area. About 84 are categorized as sedentary, 12 species as protected, and 44 as migrant species.
The migrant birds are the birds passer-border states. This migration took place in June to November, or December to February. With thousand miles distance, I guess no wonder they occasionally had to transit. To take a breath, loosen their wings, drink the fresh water. Also to search for food on the muddy shore, mangrove forests, rivers and estuaries in fields that full of worms, clams, crabs and insects.
In Wonorejo, you can find the largest water bird, cangak merah (Ardea purpurea). In its adulthood, the height of cangak merah reach one meter. In addition, you can also meet remetuk laut (Gerygone sulpurea), a bird whose size is only as small as a man’s thumb. There are also gagang-bayam timur (Himantopus leucocephalus), a bird with the longest legs in all over the world.
But they all are rather difficult to see. Looks like they are too busy to greeting us. The most often, I just met the woodpecker (Dendrocopus macei). Locally known as caladi ulam, this bird usually pecks into the trunk of the tree for search some insects as prey.
Approximately 15 minutes of journey on the river, our boat reached the Post I. Nothing interesting here. So we continued to the Post II. We walked on the woven bamboo through the mangrove forest, for about 30 meters.
In Post II, we saw the beautiful scenery of Madura Strait through the gazebo, while enjoying traditional foods of Wonorejo coast. We talked to the tour guides. They told me how this place had been a fishpond owned by inhabitants. There were many illegal mangrove destruction.
Luckily, the local government of Surabaya persuaded the inhabitants to replant the mangroves, instead of chop them down. They said, the mangrove forests have some important roles. It:
- Reduces the damage from hard winds from the sea.
- Prevents the coast from sea waves’ grinding.
- is a conducive habitat for diverse floras-faunas.
Hence, today, more than half species of mangrove in Indonesia flourish in Pamurbaya. The vegetation is dominated by bakau (Rhizophora mucronata, Rhizophora apiculata), api-api (Avicennia alba), pidada (Sonneratia caseolaris), and buta-buta (Excoecaria agallocha). Some of mangrove plant species associations can also be found in this area as ketapang (Terminalia catapa) and nipah (Nypa fructicans).
By the way, I feel that Surabaya citizens recently uphold the spirit and movement of Surabaya Goes Green. Supported by the local government who has commitment to the environment, I think every “green” idea would be accepted here. And ecotourism in Wonorejo is only one of those ideas. [photos by Brahm & Iksan]