SULAWESI TOUR: Sulawesi photo slideshow
20+ pictures of rainforests in Sulawesi
Sulawesi—which used to be called Celebes—is a strange island. It is shaped like a funny-looking lower-case "k".
Sulawesi was formed when different tectonic plates collided. It has never been connected to another major land mass.
Because of this history, Sulawesi's plant and animal life is distinct from other parts of Indonesia.
Another interesting animal is the maleo, a ground bird that builds large mounded nests that are warmed by the sun or heat produced by volcanoes.
The Crested black macaque is Sulawesi's most threatened primate. It lives in large groups and spends a lot of time on the ground.
Sulawesi also has rich marine ecosystems including some of the most biodiverse coral reefs in the world.
But Sulawesi's wild areas are at risk. About 80 percent of Sulawesi's forest has been damaged or destroyed.
Some of the biggest threats to Sulawesi's remaining forests are mining, bushmeat hunting, and illegal logging.
Some of Sulawesi's endangered species--especially birds and reptiles--are smuggled for the international pet trade.
One of the most distinct groups in Sulawesi is the Toraja, who live in the southern part of the island.
Other ethnic groups in Sulawesi include the Makassarese, Buginese, Mandar, Minahasa, Gorontalo Bajau, and Mongondow. Today most are typically Muslim.
In recent years, more and more migrants from Java and other parts of Indonesia have reduced the proportion of native groups in Sulawesi.
At times migration has contributed to conflict between groups. Traditional inhabitants have been upset that newcomers are often wealthier and compete for land and jobs.
In South Sulawesi there is Torajaland with the Toraja people as well as coral reefs around islands off the southern parts of the island.