Komodo National Park: On the Verge of Destruction?

The Komodo National Park is on the verge of destruction as new construction facilities arise that could destroy the reptiles' natural habitat.
The Komodo National Park is on the verge of destruction as new construction facilities arise that could destroy the reptiles' natural habitat.

Indonesia is famous for the Komodo National Park, where lots of Komodo dragons inhabit the country’s Lesser Sunda Islands.

Komodo dragons are now an endangered species. The 700-square-mile sanctuary also gives shelter to Timor deer, an orange-footed scrub fowl, and various marine species. It includes sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, and more.

The famed enormous lizards will eat anything from deers, pigs, smaller Komodo dragons, and even as big as a water buffalo. An animal may be lucky to escape its jaw with serrated teeth – but not for long. Its saliva contains toxins that can kill its prey in a matter of minutes. It doesn’t have to run after its prey because it will just wait for it to die and track the corpse with its smell.

Government vs. Conservationist Over Komodo National Park

Due to their dwindling population, the government established Komodo National Park in 1980 to replenish their numbers. Poachers hunt these reptiles for meat and skin or sell them alive in the black market. Other people destroy the animal’s habitat to build houses and to till lands. This time it’s the government who might be to blame for the park’s destruction.

It’s an irony because the one who established the Komodo dragon’s sanctuary was also the one who’d destroy it in the name of tourism. Developers fell trees and poured concrete to erect new tourist facilities. This outrages residents and environmental activists alike.

This move created tensions between a state that wants to expand natural attractions for luxury tourism. On the other hand, conservationists fear the giant lizard’s loss of natural habitat. Moreover, United Nations officials have already expressed their concerns regarding the possible negative effects of tourism on the wildlife-abundant park.

Excellent Resource for Increased Tourism and Saving the Economy

Due to the area’s vast biodiversity and unique beauty, it became one of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites in 1991. Also, it is one of Indonesia’s pride and joy that attracts countless visitors worldwide each year. Rangers patrol the area to protect the wildlife from poachers.

The government is thinking about making the most of the Komodo National Park. It designated the park as part of its “10 New Balis” development. This scheme will draw more tourists as Bali did before the border restrictions because of the Coronavirus.

According to the Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno, the country is starting a new generation of tourism in Indonesia developed on culture and nature. Additionally, it emphasizes workability and quality tourism.

Rinca Island is part of the multimillion-dollar tourism development project. It’s where over a third of the park’s Komodo dragons thrive on hot and dry terrain. The architecture will include an extended ranger station, toilets, boat dock, viewing platform, and others.

“When we talk about the development in the conservation area, we have to think … whether this is a wisely considered economic effect for the local people — or the environmental effect. The situation now is like collective suicide. We think that this kind of business will eventually kill others’ businesses and even themselves because they destroyed the environment,” said Sun Spirit for Justice and Peace member Gregorius Afioma.

The Indonesian government closed the park temporarily due to the pandemic, especially with new Covid-19 variants coming out. On March 21, 2020, it released a press statement stating the suspension of any expedition, research, education, and other activities.

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