Popular Indonesian island to close its doors to tourists

Your chance to see a Komodo dragon may have passed, unless you have a small fortune and can wait another year.

Popular Indonesian island to close its doors to tourists

The Indonesian island of Komodo will be closed to the public from January 2020, in an effort to protect the Komodo dragon.

The scheme also involves shifting around 2000 villagers off the island.

By closing the island, authorities hope to deter the rising number of Komodo dragon poachers and to give the lizard’s preferred prey (wild boar, buffalo and the like) a chance to recover.

Locals who make their living taking visitors to the Komodo National Park are upset.

“If we really have to do it, I hope we can find a middle ground on the solution, not closing the whole island but just a certain area,” said wildlife guide Rizaldian Syahputra.

Last year, over 176,000 tourists visited Komodo National Park.

Around 1700 Komodo dragons are estimated to live on Komodo island. But other islands that are home to more than 1400 of the giant lizards, such as nearby Rinca and Padar, will remain open to tourists.

Komodo island could reopen after a year, and then there is likely to be a hefty fee to visit.

According to local media reports, the governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Victor Laiskodat, wants to charge tourists US$500 each to enter Komodo National Park once it reopens, in an effort to boost the prestige of the conservation area.

“This is a rare place, only for people with money,” said Mr Laiskodat.

“Those who don't have enough money shouldn't come, because this place is for extraordinary people.” 

Have you ever been to Komodo? Have you seen the famous dragon?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    Karl Marx
    21st Sep 2019
    Soon Indonesia will not be a friendly place to visit if they go ahead with the proposed ban on sex out of marriage laws & other laws that will be introduced soon. No more Bali
    21st Sep 2019
    Correct. Another islamic country turning back to the medieval past. The women will be wearing burquas next.
    I don't suspect you could have unmarried young couples visit Indonesia any more for fear of arrest and imprisonment.
    How do these regimes get into power? Perhaps they'll be asking that in our own country as all the signs of a fascist dictatorship are starting to ring warning bells.
    21st Sep 2019
    I applaud the idea of limiting numbers of visitors to Komodo NP and imposing a reasonable entrance fee but an exhorbitant fee like $US500 will just make it exclusive. A money grab by a greedy and corrupt government.
    pedro the swift
    21st Sep 2019
    Who cares.Haven't been to Bali and won't bother going anyway.If I want to see big lizards I'll watch Jurassic Park.
    I have been to indonesia in the 90s for a number of weeks. Worked in Jarkata.While it was interesting,They now seem to be reverting to a medieval past with religious bigots calling the shots.
    It was run on corruption and still is.Our pollies are not game to call them out on anything because it may affect certain investments.
    They should never have been allowed into West Papua or Timor. Get them out now.
    21st Sep 2019
    Pedro, remember the Dutch gave West Papua and half of Timor to Indonesia as part of their independence agreement. Your suggestion to 'get them out' is not realistic, short of war. As for their laws against what our legal system, not so long ago when adultery and pre-marital sex was illegal, used to call 'unlawful carnal knowledge' is their own business. However they will wear the economic consequences.
    22nd Sep 2019
    $500 ...??

    Ha! Keep your dragons to yourselves. Your greedy plan is doomed.
    Baby Huey
    23rd Sep 2019
    Visited Komodo over 10 years ago on a small expedition ship (90 pax). There was talk then about closing Komodo to allow regeneration. I do not agree with permanent closure but closure for regeneration is great. The adjacent beautiful Pink Beach reef regenerated several years after the government banned fishing.

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