You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Indonesia eyes komodo dragon island closure to thwart smuggling

Topics
Environment

AFP  |  Jakarta 

Indonesia may temporarily shut an island that is home to komodo dragons in a bid to fix problems created by mass tourism and thwart attempts to smuggle the world's biggest lizard, the local tourism agency said Thursday.

The proposed closure, which is awaiting central government approval, would start from 2020 but does not apply to nearby islands where the giant, slavering carnivores are also found, the agency said.

Thousands of tourists annually descend on the cluster of islands in the eastern part of the sprawling archipelago nation -- the only place in the world where komodo dragons can be seen in their natural habitat.

Komodo Island is home to some 2,300 dragons, which can grow to around three metres (10 feet) in length. An adult typically weighs from 70 to 90 kilograms (150 to 200 pounds).

"Mass tourism is already happening on Komodo Island and it's really disturbing," local tourism agency head Marius Ardu Jelamu told AFP.

"When there are too many tourists in sensitive areas like Komodo National Park, the dragons can be adversely affected," he added.

Jakarta has agreed in principle to temporarily shutter the national park, Jelamu said.

During the proposed closure, conservationists would work to rehabilitate endemic plants and boost the number of deer, boars and other natural prey.

"We want Komodo Island to be like the Galapagos islands... so we need to rehabilitate the flora and fauna," Jelamu said.

The move would also include tighter visitor quotas and a new ticketing system that would require tourists to book online ahead of time rather than paying on the spot.

Last year, the provincial governor sparked a controversy when he proposed charging visitors $500 to see the dragons, about 50 times the current entrance fee.

Security would be tightened to prevent bids to smuggle the endangered lizard, Jelamu said Thursday.

Last week, police in East Java foiled an attempt to smuggle five komodo dragons, and arrested a group of traffickers linked to the case.

Those dragons were not smuggled from the national park, however, according to the ministry.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, April 04 2019. 11:35 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU