In addition to the potential tourism for nature, spiritual, arts and culture as well as culinary, the district of South Aceh also has other potency which is ecotourism. There is a wealth of rare species in the deep forest of Suak Belimbing, such as orang-utan (Pongo abelii ). Based on the result of research, orangutan in Suak Belimbing are the origin for habitat of orangutan Sumatra.
Orangutan or maweh (local people’s word for orangutan) or in Acehnese mawah, is one of the habitats that does not conflict with the community. The number orangutan in Suak Belimbing is estimated between 250 and 300.
Aceh Tourism’s explore team arrived in Suak Belimbing on Friday (25/10/2013). The road trip from Tapaktuan to Suak Belimbing is about two hours. Aceh Tourism’s explore team took one day and one night to get into the wilderness in Suak Belimbing with a pretty heavy terrain.
Not far from the lodge which is often used as lodging for the researchers of orangutan, the team crossed the river with its water relatively calm. Not far after crossing the river, the team began to enter the gate of Taman Nasional Gunung Lauser (TNGL).
After walking into jungle for about 2 kilometers, the team saw an orangutan parent with children who were eating mangoes. They moved from one tree to another. According to the manager of Suak Belimbing Research Camp, Mahmuddin, the population of orangutan in Suak Belimbing is the most populous in Sumatera.
“Orangutan in Suak Belimbing live by moving from one nest to another. Their types of food are durian, jackfruit, lychee, mangoes, and figs. Other types of food can be insects, soil, tree bark, and sometimes eggs and other small vertebrates”, said Mahmuddin.
He continued that orangutan who have the DNA almost like human DNA are like making holes in the trunk of the trees that are useful to collect water from rain. They usually drink it by inhaling on his wrist. Orangutan here also get the food from the mineral of soil, but in very small quantities.
In addition, orangutan in Suak Belimbing and Sumatra generally ares known to use twigs to take a piece of fruits. According to researchers of orangutan, orangutan have a high level of intelligence.
From data published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), orangutan in Suak Belimbing and Sumatera have the physical characteristics which are opposite to orangutan in Borneo. Orangutan from Sumatra have long cheek pouches. For the male, its body length is about 1.25 meters to 1.5 meters. The body weight for adult female orangutan is around 30 to 50 kilograms and for the male is around 50 to 90 kilograms. The colour of the hairs on their body is reddish brown.
WWF also noted other characteristic of orangutan from Sumatra. Generally each group of orangutan consists one or two orangutan. Approximately they go between 2 to 10 kilometers in search for food. Generally the male is the loner, while the females are often in the jungle with her children.
According to the WWF, the female Sumatran orangutan starts to have a baby at the age of 10-11 years, with an average of reproduction for about 15 years. While at the age of 3.5 years, the child of orangutan slowly splits away from its parent, after their mother gives a birth again.
Besides orangutans, there are still many other rare species in Suak belimbing. That is why tourists visiting Suang Leatherback are not just making this place as a place for an ecotourism, but also as a center for research and science to find out the species of rare flora and fauna that live here.