One of the biggest tourist attractions in Indonesia is the Komodo Island.
Komodo island, a UNESCO world heritage site, it is part of the Lesser Sunda chain of Indonesian islands, is the rugged habitat of the 3m-long Komodo dragon monitor lizard. Komodo National Park covers the entire region and is home to more than 4,000 dragons, and is made up of rusty-red volcanic hills, savannah and forests. Its surrounding waters of seagrass beds, mangrove shrublands and coral reefs are famous for diving. According to data from the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry, over 10,000 people visit Komodo National Park monthly, with 95 percent of them being foreigners, while only 130 people monitor the park.
But this paradise is going to be shut down for tourists from next year. Komodo dragon the largest lizard on earth and the rush used to be get a glimpse of these creatures. This decision comes on the back of reports that these very same Komodo dragons were being smuggled and sold overseas. Recently, nine men were arrested on suspicion of selling more than 40 Komodo dragons for about $35,000 each. The decision to close the island in 2020 came shortly after this news came to light.
The park is home to roughly 5,700 Komodo dragons and is the only place on the planet where one can view the dragons in their natural habitat. As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the dragon is now at a ‘vulnerable’ status on its Red List of Threatened Species.
Last year, Thailand’s Maya Bay’s coral reef shut for 4 months, from June-September, after which officials announced it will be closed indefinitely. In India too, we have so many places which are vulnerable, especially in the Himalayan biosphere. Isn’t it time we either started restricting the number of tourists visiting the place or completely shut it down? But then would we have the courage to do something as drastic as what Philippines and Indonesia did?