Tangkoko Nature Reserve
We only need 90-minute drive to reach Tangkoko Nature Reserve from the airport of Manado. The road is in good condition but very winding once we leave Bitung town. Comparing with the Lore Lindu National Park (217,000 hectares), Tangkoko (8,700 hectares) is very small. But, it is very rich with bird species and it has two star species: spectral tarsier and macaque nigra.
The Reserve centers on the Mount Tangkoko; its north east foot that reaches the beach makes Tangkoko have a complete spectrum of coral reef biota to mid-altitude mountain biota. However, it is only tarsiers that attract most of the international visitors.
To see tarsiers, we need to hire a guide to take us to the nesting trees of tarsiers. The path is easy because people use it every day. However, taking picture and video of tarsiers are not too easy because of the low lighting. Normally, we could only watch tarsier one hour before sunset and one hour before sunrise. Luckily, I brought a tripod to overcome this problem.
The guides attract tarsiers to stay longer outside by leaving a live grasshopper on the branch of small tree near the nest. The period between thinking to grab the grasshopper and bringing it home is the golden moment for taking picture or video of the tarsier. And, I used it well. Watch it at http://youtu.be/FeGBORnFNSA
Comparing with other nature reserves or national parks, Tangkoko is better protected. Thanks to the tarsiers. They give a lot money to at least 40 local guides, 8 homestay owners, and their family. Each visitor has to pay a guide 200,000 rupiah for one trip to the nesting tree. On the average, there are about 10 visitors every day. Thus, the tarsiers give the local people about 5 million rupiah (equals 500 USD) per day. It is a lot of money for villagers.
Besides tarsier, macaque nigra is another endemic primate species. They are very funny and easier to videorecord. Watch them at http://youtu.be/KXC1lpfq0MI