Ministry highlights rising Komodo dragon population in past few years

Ministry highlights rising Komodo dragon population in past few years

Komodo dragon in Komodo Island, West Manggarai District of East Nusa Tenggara. ANTARA PHOTO/Kornelis Kaha/wsj.

The Komodo dragon population in Loh Buaya Valley is five percent of the total count in Rinca Island, or some 66 species. The population in Loh Buaya during the past 17 years was relatively stagnant and slightly increased during the past five years
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The population of Komodo dragons has increased in the past few years, reaching 3,022 in 2019, according to the Forestry and Environment Ministry.

The population is concentrated in the islands of Komodo and Rinca in East Nusa Tenggara, as the authority has only spotted seven, 69, and 91 komodo respectively in the province’s three neighboring islands of Nusa Kode, Gili Motang, and Padar.

In 2018, the total Komodo population numbered at 2,897.

"The Komodo dragon population in Loh Buaya Valley is five percent of the total count in Rinca Island, or some 66 species. The population in Loh Buaya during the past 17 years was relatively stagnant and slightly increased during the past five years," Director General of Natural Resource and Ecosystem Conservation of the ministry Wiratno noted in the statement.

Loh Buaya in Rinca Island is situated within the Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara and is a tourist destination in the province. The area has facilities for tourists, including cottages, cafeteria, shelter, and trail, and has become a location to observe wildlife.

Wiratno believes minimum contact with humans will help in preserving the species. Despite tourism activities in the 500-hectare Loh Buaya Valley, some 2.5 percent of Rinca Island covers 20 thousand hectares of the area.

The national park, declared as a biosphere reserve under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme in January 1977, spans an area of 173,300 hectares comprising 33.76 percent of land and 66.24 percent of waters.

In 1991, the national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Of the total area, 824 hectares, or 0.4 percent, was designed as a Land Tourism Zone and 1,584 hectares, or 0.95 percent, as a Marine Tourism Zone.

"Development of nature tourism was restricted only in these zones. This is part of the prudent principle applied in the management plan of the Komodo National Park," he stated, adding that development of supporting facilities in the area had reached 30-percent completion and is targeted to be ready by 2021.

The development of facilities in the area came under the spotlight after a picture surfaced of a komodo carrying building material facing a truck.

Executive Director of Walhi NTT Umbu Wulang Tanaamahu Paranggi emphasized that the government should solely channel its efforts to conserve the Komodo dragons and their ecosystem instead of developing infrastructure for tourism that can be detrimental to the ecosystem.  

EDITED BY INE


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