Published: Sat, April 06, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Komodo Island Is Closing To Tourists Because People Keep Stealing Dragons

Komodo Island Is Closing To Tourists Because People Keep Stealing Dragons

This is why we can't have nice things.

Animal and wildlife lovers planning to visit Indonesia's famed Komodo island to hang out with the largest lizards on Earth will have to re-think their travel plans starting in 2020.

"The criminals meant to ship the animals to three countries in Southeast Asia through Singapore", head of the special crimes unit of the East Java Police, Senior Commander Akhmad Yusep Gunawan, told The Jakarta Post.

But one environmental ministry official said that this is the first time he had heard of Komodo dragons - which have existed only in Indonesia for centuries - being trafficked for those purposes.

Then, in another location, authorities arrested five smugglers on Java for alleged trafficking of komodo dragons along with other animals including bearcats, cockatoos, and cassowaries.

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Police commissioner Rofiq Ripto Himawan said buyers typically use the dragons to produce medicine. The Komodo dragon's blood is known to contain antimicrobial peptides, making the animals immune to the highly venomous bites of other dragons.

During the closure, the park will roll out a conservation program aimed at increasing the dragon population and preserving their habitat. They have a poisonous saliva and can be unsafe - but the World Animal Foundations estimates there are only about 6,000 left in the wild, all concentrated in Indonesia's Komodo National Park. Therefore, to protect the population, tourism in Komodo banned.

The World Animal Foundation estimates there are only about 6,000 Komodo dragons left in the world, and they are all concentrated in Indonesia's Komodo National Park.

Officials did not announce when Komodo Island would be open to the public again.

Whatever happens, the poaching incident has drawn attention to Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.

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