Only Komodo Island to be closed to tourists: governor

Only Komodo Island to be closed to tourists: governor

Komodo Island, East Nusa Tenggara Province. ANTARA FOTO/Kornelis Kaha/wsj.

Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA News) - Only Komodo Island, part of the Komodo National Park, will be closed to tourists, while other islands in the national park will still remain open to visitors, East Nusa Tenggara Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat stressed.

"The plan to close Komodo National Park will only be applicable for Komodo Island. Tourists can still visit Rinca Island, Padar Island, and others," Laiskodat stated here on Monday.

Komodo National Park includes the three larger islands of Komodo, Padar, and Rinca, and 26 smaller ones.

However, he remarked that the island will be closed after the central government agreed on the partnership with its local counterpart to manage the national park.

"Until now, it (the national park management) is still under the central government, in this case, the Forestry and Environment Ministry. If this can be agreed upon, Komodo island will be closed for a year for some improvements," he elaborated.

He reiterated that only Komodo Island will be closed.

"Go ahead if tourists want to go around (the national park) aboard a boat, but they cannot disembark at Komodo Island. They can go to Rinca, Padar, and other islands," he stated.

Komodo Island is closed to increase the population of Komodo dragon (Varanus Komodoensis).

"I think we need genetic engineering, and it will necessitate research and calmness," he emphasized.

The national park was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon, the world`s largest lizard. In 1991, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Reporting by Aloysius Lewokeda, Sri Haryati