Pulau Kukup, Johor
Located South-west of Johor1 km offshore from the quaint little fishing village of Kampung Air Masin in Kukup Laut (Pontian District), Pulau Kukup is an island entirely covered by mangrove forest and surrounded by mudflats – the mudflats extend up to a few kilometres on the West and Northwest of the island. There is currently no human habitation or man made structures on the island.
In order to promote preservation of this unique mangrove habitat, Pulau Kukup is designated as a Ramsar site (or otherwise known as a Wetlands of International Importance) on 31 January 2003, it is also protected as a national park under the Johor State Park Corporation Enactment 1989 since 27 March 1997.
Pulau Kukup is dissected by a few tidal creeks and channels. Six channels/creeks flow through Pulau Kukup: Sungai Ular, Sungai Solok, Sungai Sedang, Sungai Tong Kang, Sungai Merah and Sungai Jempol. Most of the channels are narrow and blind and very picturesque, being fringed by the stilt roots of Rhizophora and breathing roots of Sonneratia and Avicennia.
Pulau Kukup is relatively rich in biological diversity although it is a small isolated island from the mainland. It is home to 27 species of true and associated mangrove species which include common species such as Bakau Minyak Rhizophora apiculata, Bakau Kurap Rhizophora mucronata, Tumu Bruguiera cylindrica, Perepat Sonneratia alba dan Api-api Avicennia spp. So far 12 wildlife species have been recorded on the island include protected species such as the Smooth Otter, Dusky Leaf Monkey, Long tailed Macaque and Wild boars.
The rich diversity of marine aquatic life here which includes the shrimps, crabs, shellfish and marine fishes remain the main source of income for local fishermen. The island provides shelter and nursery grounds for these marine lives. In addition, the island physically protects the cage culture industry which is located along the Straits of Kukup from strong winds and waves. Commercial fish species cultured here include the Sea Bass, Grouper and Mangrove Snapper which are largely destined for overseas market.
Pulau Kukup harbours at least 76 bird species which broadly include forest birds, raptors and waterbirds such as the Lesser Adjutant, Grey Heron, Mangrove Pitta, Collared Kingfisher and Brahminy Kite. It is also one of the important migratory stop-over sites for shorebirds such as Whimbrel, Redshank, Greenshank and Common Sandpiper. These birds are commonly seen at the island from September till February the following year. One can also observe the migration of raptors such as the Oriental Honey Buzzard, which hovers over the sky enroute their travel to Indonesia. This is evident between September and December.
Pulau Kukup National Park Corporation
1319, Mukim Air Masin, 82300 Kukup
HOW TO GET THERE
Visitors can access Kukup town from various points: using the North-South Highway, exit at Simpang Renggam toll and turn left towards Benut and proceed to Pontian/Kukup; another route is from Johor Bahru through Skudai and proceed to Pontian; foreign visitors from Singapore and Tanjung Balai (Indonesia) can access the town through ferry services. From Kukup town, visitors can access the island by tourist boats.
Visitors who plan to visit this mangrove island are advised to first register at the Pulau Kukup Johor National Park office located in the town centre in Kukup, before proceeding to the nearby jetty.