The Wasur National Park forms part of the largest wetland in Papua, province of Indonesia, and has been the least disturbed by human activity. The high value of biodiversity has led to the park being dubbed the 'Serengeti Papua'. The vast open wetland, in particular Rawa Biru Lake, attracts a very rich fauna.
The Wasur National Park is situated in Merauke, Papua. This park has a wildlife habitat and the exact same in Australia, namely savanna forest with various kinds of kangaroo, but the kangaroo in this Wasur smaller compared with the kangaroos in Australia.
Rawa Biru (Blue Swamp)/Wasur Reserve located in the Merauke Region of Papua, the farthest town in the east of Indonesia. Giant termite mounds, long-grass, paper bark trees, acacia, and eucalyptus, much like Australia. The water shelter crocodiles and the curious dugong, and birds are cockatoos, parrots, crowned pigeons, and the fierce cassowary. Native wallabies and the deer introduced in 1913, thrive in the area. The reserve is 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Merauke and the best way to get there is by Jeep during the dry season.
About 70% of total area of the park consists of savanna, while the remaining vegetation is swamp forest, monsoon forest, coastal forest, bamboo forest, grassy plains and large stretches of sago swamp forest. The dominant plants include Mangroves, Terminalia, and Melaleuca species.
The Wasur National park covers an area of 413,810 Ha, average rainfall is about 2,400 mm annually, Temperature 22oC - 30oC, at the geographical location is 140o29' - 141o00' East and 8o04' - 9o07' South. The park provides habitat for a large variety of up to 358 birds species of which some 80 species are endemic to the island of New Guinea. Fish diversity is also high in the region with some 111 species found in the eco-region and a large number of these are recorded from Wasur. The Park's wetland provides habitat for various species of lobster and crab as well.
Wasur National Park is the habitat for a number of rare and endemic species. Red-listed species known to be present in viable population are Southern Crowned Pigeon and New Guinea Harpy Eagle, Dusky Pedemelon, Black-necked Stork, Fly River Grassbird and Little Curlew. Three Trans-Fly endemic bird species have been recorded, including the Fly River Grassbird and the Grey-crowned Munia.
The introduction of the Rusa Deer to Papua by the Dutch at Merauke in 1928, lead to an extensive spread of this species to most of the southern coastlands of the island. According to the indigenous communities of the National Park, this led to major changes to the local ecosystem, including : the reduction of tall swamp grasses and consequent ceasing of breeding of the Australian Pelican and Magpie Goose, reduction of the Phragmites reed species, and the extensive spread of Melaleuca onto open grasslands.
The Wasur Area was first designated as a Wildlife Reserve in 1978 with an area of 2,100 sq kms. An extended area of 4,138 sq kms was later declared a National Park in 1990. In 2006 the park has been also recognized as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. Wasur shares a common border with Tonda Wildlife Management Area (WMA), another Ramsar site in neighbouring Papua New Guinea.
Threre are four groups of indegenous peoples living in the park, belonging to the tribes of Kanume, Marind, Marori and Yei, who rely on the area for food and their daily needs. The total population is estimated to be 2,500 peoples within 14 villages. The name of the park is derived from the Marori language in which Waisol means garden. These local communities consume fish, sago, sweet potatoes, deer, bandicot and wallaby. Many aspects of their culture are disappearing although some elements such as festivals, pig feasts, dancing, weafing and traditional cooking remain. There are many sites of spiritual significance including sacred sites. The southern part of the park has large areas of ancient agricultural mounds which are of archaelocogical importance.
Declared by Minister of Forestry No. 282/Kpts-VI/1997, May 23, 1997.