In 2007, the Government of Timor-Leste declared its first national park, Nino Konis Santana National Park. This national park includes the entire eastern tip of Timor-Leste and the waters off shore. It was named after the commander of the Falantil who was born locally in Tutuala and died in 1998.
Covering 123,600ha from forested mountain ranges to a marine area with magnificent coral reefs, the park also includes Lake Ira Lalaro and Jaco Island. The adjoining reef system is part of the globally significant ‘Coral Triangle’ having extremely high diversity of reef fish and coral species.
The dense forest within the park includes both tropical lowland vine forest thick with orchids and ferns, as well as monsoon forest with banyan, rosewood and fig trees. Rusa deer, cuscus, monkeys, over 200 species of birds and five species of sea turtles are resident wildlife.
Furthermore this national park’s designation is of enormous cultural significance with many sacred sites located within the boundary. Limestone caves, some with ancient rock art are good examples.
While the Nino Konis Santana National Park is still in the process of being established in terms of facilities and enforced protections its designation is an important step in the on-going conservation of this beautiful and environmentally important area.