The Mentawai Islands are a chain of about seventy islands and islets off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. Siberut (4,030 km²) is the largest of the islands. The other major islands are Sipura, North Pagai (Pagai Utara) and South Pagai (Pagai Selatan). The islands lie approximately 150 km off the Sumatran coast, across the Mentawai Strait. The indigenous inhabitants of the islands are known as theMentawai people. The Mentawai Islands have become a noted destination for surfing.
The Mentawai Islands have been administered as a regency within the West Sumatra (Sumatera Barat) province since 1999. The regency seat is Tua Pejat, on the island of Sipora. Padang, the capital of the province, lies on the Sumatran mainland opposite Siberut. The regency is divided into ten districts (kecamatan), tabulated below from south to north with their 2010 Census populations.
- South Pagai (8,782)
- Sikakap (9,531)
- North Pagai (5,212)
- South Sipora (8,460)
- North Sipora (9,097)
- South Siberut (8,446)
- South West Siberut (6,069)
- Middle Siberut (6,069)
- North Siberut (7,774)
- West Siberut (6,733)
Administrative center of the district is located in the Mentawai Islands Tuapejat, north of the island of Sipora.
In 2010 geographically and administratively, the Mentawai Islands consists of 10 districts, 43 villages and 202 hamlets. The ten sub-districts are as follows:
District of South Pagai with an area of 901.08 km² (14.99%) and the capital district is Bulasat
Sikakap Sub District with an area of 278.45 square kilometers (4.63%) and the capital district is Sikakap
District of North Pagai with an area of 342.02 square kilometers (5.69%) and the capital district is Saumanganyak
South Sipora Sub District with an area 268,47km² (4.47%) and the capital district is Sioban
North Sipora Sub District with an area of 383.08 square kilometers (6.37%) and the capital district is Sido Makmur
South Siberut District with an area of 508.33 square kilometers (8.46%) and the capital district is Maileppet
Southwestern Siberut District with an area of 649.08 km² (10.80%) and the capital district is Pasakiat Taileleu
Central Siberut District with an area of 739.87 km² (12.31%) and the capital district is Saibi Samukop
North Siberut District with an area of 816.11 km² (13.58%) and the capital district are Estuary Sikabaluan
West Siberut District with an area of 1124.86 km² (18.71%) and the capital district is Simalegi (Betaet)
The islands have been separated from Sumatra since the mid-Pleistocene period, which has allowed at least twenty endemic species to develop amongst its flora and fauna. This includes five endemic primates: the Mentawai or kloss gibbon (Hylobates klossii), Mentawai macaque (Macaca pagensis), Siberut macaque (Macaca siberu), Mentawai leaf monkey (Presbytis potenziani), and pig-tailed langur (Simias concolor). They are highly endangered due to logging, unsustainable hunting, and conversion of rainforest to palm oil plantations. Some areas of the Mentawai Islands rain forest ecoregion are protected, such as the Siberut National Park. Red junglefowl, the Asian Palm Civetand crab-eating macaque are also native.
The Mentawai Islands lie above the Sunda megathrust, a seismically active zone responsible for many great earthquakes. This megathrust runs along the southwestern side of Sumatra island, forming the interface between the Eurasian Plate and Indo-Australian Plate.
Earthquake and tsunami activity has been high since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. In 1833, the region was hit with an earthquake, possibly similar in size to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, another large earthquake struck in 1797. On October 25, 2010, an earthquake in southern Sumatra led to a deadly tsunami that devastated villages in South and North Pagai.
Mentawai Islands is an archipelago situated aft district in the western part of the island of Sumatra and is surrounded by the Indian Ocean.
Mentawai Islands are part of a series of non-volcanic islands and archipelagoes that the peaks of an underwater ridge.
Mentawai tribe as the main population in this district, the general public does not have a clear picture of their origin, although none of them get to know some of the mythology that sometimes rather vague and hard to believe. Local people call their country by the name of.
Greater part of the inhabitants of the islands in the Mentawai Islands district comes from the island of Siberut. Mentawai tribe physically society has a rather ancient culture that the Neolithic period in which the public is not familiar with the technology of metalworking, as well as planting and the art of weaving.
Half the population in this district are animists, then sebahagian Christians and Muslims. After independence the people in this district have been mingling with other tribes in Indonesia, especially after the district became one of the transmigration.
Development and potential of the region
Mentawai islands challenge waves for surfers
This area has a lot of natural resources, in addition to the plantation, agriculture and fisheries. This area has the potential to become a tourist resort area. Seafood is one of the potential to be developed in this district, especially groupers sold for export.
To support development in this area of central and local government plans to build a power plant with a capacity of 6 MW Tuapejat
Mentawai macaque, Macaca pagensis
Pig Tailed Monkey, Simias concolor
Kasturi squirrel Mentawai, Tupaia chrysogaster
Mentawai gibbon, Hylobates klossii
Mentawai langur, Presbytis potenziani
Rat spines Pagai, Maxomys pagensis
Giant Rat Sipora, Leopoldamys siporanus
Nyingnying Mentawai, Chiropodomys karlkoopmani
Mentawai rat, Rattus lugens
Mentawai flying squirrel, Iomys Sipora
Sipora flying squirrel, Hylopetes Sipora
Siberut flying squirrel, Petinomys lugens
Brother squirrel, Sundasciurus fraterculus
Black Squirrel, Callosciurus melanogaster
Three-striped tailed squirrel, Lariscus Obscurus
Sambar deer, Cervus unicolor oceanus
Mentawai Owl, Otus mentawai
Snake Mentawai, Calamaria klossii