Popular Indonesian island to close for a year
PART of the Lesser Sunda chain of the Indonesian archipelago, the breathtakingly beautiful Komodo island is the largest of the 29 islands which form the Unesco-recognized Komodo National Park.
It boasts volcanic hills, thick lush forests, mangrove shrublands, and coral reefs. But it got its claim to fame for being the rugged habitat of the three-meter-long Komodo monitor lizard.
Which explains why the destination has earned the nickname the “real-life Jurassic Park”.
Said to be the world’s largest lizard and reptile, the dragons are identified by their size, flat heads, long thick tails, bowed legs, and fork-shaped tongues. A fierce predator, these creatures can run and swim up to 20kph and have an excellent vision.
It can kill a large water buffalo with the poison in its saliva by biting it. After which, the pray is completely shredded apart and devoured – with bones and all.
While the aggression of the majestic lizard is difficult to predict, the Komodo National Park is a major tourist attraction. It is home to over 3,000 dragons and four different trekking routes which can be explored on a guided tour.
Visitors must be accompanied by a guide at all times and urged to keep a distance and exercise caution, for obvious reasons.
However, the Komodo National Park may soon be closed to visitors.
The East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) administration has announced its plans to temporarily close Komodo National Park to visitors for a year. “The NTT administration will make [the necessary] arrangements for Komodo National Park,” tempo.co quoted NTT governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat as saying.
The closure will give the provincial administration easier access in managing the park and developing the dragons’ habitat. In particular, they aim to increase the local population of dragons and deer.
The individual lizards in the current population were not as big as they used to be because of a decline in the local deer population due to poaching, according to Viktor. This could lead to the dragons preying on their own kind if the deer population continues to decline.
“Its natural instinct will emerge when (the population of one of the animals) in the Komodo dragon’s food chain declines. If food is abundant, the Komodo dragons will (employ) a different instinct,” Viktor said.
“This is why the administration wants to manage the Komodo dragon’s habitat by temporarily closing the area to visitors for one year.”
The closure date is yet to be announced.