- Name of district: Wakatobi
- Name of capital district: Wangi-Wangi
- Total population: 120.000 people consists of Buton, Bajo and Bugis people
- Total island: 4 islands consists of Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko
- Total village: 100 villages
- Name of national park: Wakatobi National Park
- Total area of national park: 1.390.000 hectares
- Currency: IDR (Indonesian Rupiah)
- Language: Indonesian and local languages
- Name of airport: Matahora
- Leading sectors: fishery and tourism
- Air transportation: Wings Air (Lion Air)
- Sea transportation: Wanci Port
- Communication operator: Telkom, Telkomsel, Indosat
Wakatobi is an archipelago in the province of South East Sulawesi. It has totally about 19.800 square kilometers of area included 823 square kilometers of land and the others which is waters. In this case, it has approximately 120.000 people who live in its four major islands of Wakatobi such as Wanci (Wangi-Wangi), Kaledupa, Tomia, Binongko, and Runduma as the others’ place. ‘Wakatobi’ term itself actually comes from the beginning letters of Wanci (Wangi-Wangi), Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko. Before becoming an autonomous area, Wakatobi is in one district of Buton. In 2002, it separated itself to be an independent district. Before mostly people called it as Wakatobi, it was known as Kepulauan Toekang Besi in which the meaning is a blacksmith in order to describe the uniqueness of Binongko people who have a job mostly as blacksmiths for generations. In addition, it is geographically located between Banda Sea and Flores Sea in which its ecosystem under water is rich because of the various coral reefs itself make Wakatobi as one supporting ecology in Sunda Banda in order to support the world’s coral triangle conservation too.
Geographically, Wakatobi is located between the south and the west of Flores Sea and also the north and the east of Banda Sea. In this case, Wakatobi National Park is specifically located on 123015’00”- 124o45’00” of East Latitude and 05o15’00”- 06o10’00” of South Latitude.
As we know, Indonesia where is passed by the equator, Wakatobi has two seasons, the dry season and the rainy season with their daily temperatures ranged from 22.4 to 33.9 degrees Celsius, and also the average of humidity about 105.2 % (Statistic’s Bureau data of Wakatobi in 2013). The dry season or the east wind season usually happens from June to August while the rainy season or the west wind season happens on December and February. It is not good to visit Wakatobi when the high tide is out. You can visit it about on September to November or March to May. On these months, the wind is relatively calm and comfortable to travel the sea. However, in Wakatobi, the seasons do not always come similarly in every year caused by the climates’ change. When the east wind season comes, the speed of wind in Wakatobi can reach two knots until five knots maximally. Contrary, when the west wind season comes, it goes relatively between three to five knots. Therefore, Wakatobi has the average of rainy days ranged on 107 days per year.
Wakatobi has two major ethnics who live in Buton and Bajau. In this case, you can find Buton ethnic who is totally 91, 33 % calling themselves as the land people because they mostly live on land and can be the representative of 11 other ethnics in Wakatobi. Then, it is still divided into nine local groups that spread to four major islands (Wangiwangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko) such as the groups of Wanse, Mandati, Liya and Kapota (lived in Wangiwangi and Kapota); Barata Kahedupa’s group in Kaledupa that consists of nine Limbo (Limbo Langge; Tampara; Tombuluruha; Tapa’a; Kiwolu; (Limbo that lives in the east area and known as Umbosa); Ollo; Watole; Lewuto; and Laolua (lived in the west area and known as Siofa); the groups of Waha, Tongano and Timu (lived in Tomia); and Mbeda-beda’s group and Cia-cia’s group who live in Binongko. However, there are 7, 92 % of Bajo ethnic who lives in coastal areas in Wakatobi. In this case, you can find them as sea nomads. They believe that the sea as a link instead of dividing towards them. They live in Wangiwangi and Kaledupa indeed. In Wangiwangi, Bajo ethnic focuses on living in Mola and the southern. Then, in another island, Kaledupa, they live in Mantigola, Sampela, Samabahari and Lohoa. In addition, Bajo ethnic has ’Di lao’ denakangKu’ as their life motto because it means “the ocean is my brother, the ocean is where I live, earn a living, as well as joining in the joy and sorrow that always provide all the needs in my life”.
Wakatobi has a sloping beach with white sand and stretches from north to south in which there is unique topography of the highland and lowland with different types of soil such as clays, white sand and limestone. In 2014, there is a research, namely Indecon, which had noted that the highest plateau in Wakatobi is Wangiwangi with its height about 274 meters, then Tomia’s high hill, Lagole, with its 271 meters above sea level, Bukit Terpadu in Binongko that has 222 meters and lastly Pangilia hill as high as 203 meters in Kaledupa. Furthermore, there is a data record that shows about 750 of the total 850 coral species prefer choosing Wakatobi as home. The islands in Wakatobi actually have 43 islands with three islands of gosong and five islands of atoll. Besides the four major in Wakatobi, there are a little of small islands that are lived by the local people. Meanwhile, in Wakatobi mostly the coral reefs consist of karang tepi (fringing reef), gosong (patch reef) and atoll. Then, Wakatobi is also known by its Kaledupa atoll, Kapota atoll and Tomia atoll. In this case, you can find Kaledupa atoll that has a length of 49, 26 kilometers recorded as the longest atoll in the world. However, Wakatobi is widely best known from the high potential of fishery. It is recorded that there are 93 species of fish such as (Cephalopholus argus), takhasang (Naso unicornis), pogo-pogo (Balistoides viridescens), napoleon (Cheilinus undulatus), perch (Lutjanus biguttatus), baronang (Siganus guttatus), Amphiprion melanopus, Chaetodon specullum, Chelmon rostratus, Heniochus acuminatus, Lutjanus monostigma, Caesio caerularea, etc. Then, Wakatobi is viewed rich of sea birds such as Brown geese-stones (Sula leucogaster plotus), Malay plover (Charadrius peronii) and Eurasian kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). There are several species of sea turtles that also take Wakatobi as their home such as the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea). The rare one recorded in Wakatobi is the sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). You can find them seen on November in Wakatobi.
Wakatobi is recorded with its 396 coral reefs which consist of 31 species of fungi coral (mushrooms), 10 species of hard coral, non scleractinia or ahermatipic, 28 species of soft coral, and the others that is Scleractinia hermatipic coral. The total area of coral reefs in Wakatobi is about 54,500 hectares where consists of four types of ecological communities such as fringing reefs, barriers, rings and burnt or gosong reefs (source: Master Plan of The Nature Tourism of Wakatobi National Park Development, 2012).
There are approximately 590 fish species from 52 families in Wakatobi. Some of them are found there such as types of Wrasse (Labridae), Damsel (Pomacintredae), Grouper (Serranidae), Cardinal (Apogonidae), Snapper (Lutjanidae), Squirrel (Holocentridae), and Angel (Pomacanthidae).
In Wakatobi, you can find 31 species of Foraminifera sp which consist of three groups such as the reefs (flat reefs), the inner lagoon, and sloping reefs. Meanwhile, there are 34 species of Stomatopoda.
Wakatobi has 11 species of totally 12 sea grass species found in Indonesia. In this case, they consist of Haludule uninervis, H. Pinifolia, Cymodoceae rotundata, C. Serrulata, Thalassodendron cilatum (which is the dominant sea grass in Wakatobi), Syringodium isotifelium, Enhalus acoroides, Thalassia hempirichii and Halophila ovalis.
Wakatobi is recorded to have five species of whales, namely: Beaked Whale, Pilot Whale, Sperm Whale, Bride’s Whale and Melon Head Whale. Meanwhile, there are also six kinds of dolphins such as Bottle Noose Dolphin, Round Head Dolphins, Risso Dolphin, Spinner Dolphin, and Spotted Dolphin.
Binongko is one of turtle habitats in Wakatobi (located in Koko Coral, Koromaho Coral, Kentiole Island and Moromaho Island). In addition, the other islands are found where there are turtle habitats for nesting such as Runduma Island’s beach, Anano Island, Kentiole Island, Tuwu-tuwu Island and Moromaho Island. In this place, you can find two turtle species, namely hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and green turtle (Chelonia mydas).
There are 32 mangrove species in 1,200 hectares of mangrove forests in Wakatobi. In this case, the condition is relatively good. However, Kaledupa is the highest mangrove area in Wakatobi. The condition itself is relatively preserved because Binongko Island is a customary forest or sara forest.
Wakatobi is actually the home for about 85 species of birds, such as Phalacrocoracidae sp., Fregatidae sp, and Ardeidae sp. Then, this district is also a place of transit or singggah for several birds’ species that migrate from the Australian to the Pacific or vice versa.
In Wakatobi, you can find 11 monitoring places of fish’s spawning or Spawning Aggregation Site (SPAG). Eleventh locations are namely Kapota Coral, Hoga Channel, Otiolo Coral, Coral of table City, Tomia Coral, Runduma, Kentiole, Binongko, Koko Coral, and Moromaho.