Indonesia’s War on Komodo Island
Authorities in Indonesia want to return Komodo Island to dragons. They want the island closed for tourists and expel locals. These natives have been living with these great lizards on the island for generations. The world’s largest lizards, popular for their noxious teeth and poisonous stings which are found in this small region of eastern Indonesia.
Tourists come to watch them, while many horror films are made by the inspiration of these lizards.
The locals believe that they have a physical and spiritual connection with these lizards, but humans are probably going to change.
The governor of this area, Victor Bangtello Lescodat, says: ‘This island is called Komodo Island, that’s why it should be dedicated to Komodo dragons and not to humans only. It will now be the rights of animals.
The governor has asked UNESCO to close its site there for a year in 2020, and then allow only a few wealthy tourists to tour on the island. The governor also wants to expel locals. The proposal submitted by the Governor is currently under consideration in Jakarta.
The number of tourists coming to see the dragons is, however, much higher than People from Europe looking for new places came here.
When we visited the place, a multi-story boat anchored on the coast called Lou Leung. And as the gates of the park opened at seven in the morning, thousands of tourists began to enter Komodo Island.
And then the tourist mob in the jungle needs to be controlled. Each group of tourists is given only five minutes so that they can see the Komodo dragons near the river.
Tourist Nermin Atman from Turkey arrives on this occasion. They said ‘They are incredibly beautiful, but also scary. I didn’t believe that dragons existed but that was true! ‘
Jakarta is greatly promoting this fascinating island, and buildings and other facilities are also being built to accommodate the growing number of tourists.
Komodo National Park is located in the poorest region Indonesia and tourist arrivals can change the destiny of the place.
Many people are coming here for jobs and other opportunities. Tour guide Tessa Septani Andra says, ‘This place is stepping towards development and it looks like that there are endless opportunities are here.’
However, the governor is not impressed with what’s going on here. “Komodo is not being protected,” he says.
‘Many people are coming here. They are not paying a high price to come here and that means everyone can enter here. ‘
And they will get more value under the new plan in relation to the place.
They says, ‘People have to become members of the Komodo National Park and they have to pay $1000 per year to enter the place. I think it’s cheaper too. That way, if we allow 50,000 people to enter here, we can make $50 million per year. ”
An Australian-based doctor, Tim Jessop has spent years researching the Komodos on these islands. They agree that tourism is a blessing.
They say the number of boats bringing and returning tourists here is increasing, and the waste plastic thrown by people is affecting aquatic life.
Dr. Tim has long been emphasizing the need to regulate the tourism industry in the area. They cite the example of the Galapagos Islands, where the number of tourists has been limited and according to them it can be a good model.
‘The tourists who go there, it’s only three to four percent of the Komodo National Park. 90% of tourists go here. ‘
Most Komodo dragons live on the island of Komodo. In fact, there are more than 20 islands in the Komodo National Park. A large number of dragons live on the island of Rinca.
Dr. Tim has been evaluating the population of Komodo since 2002 with the National Park Administration.
He says another fear of the governor in this regard is Komodo’s biggest victim, the deer, who is also endangered due to this.
“It is true, Rangers to say that it is a large national park spread over a wide area, some of its areas are safe and some are unsafe. And there is also no illegal hunting of animals which will have an impact on the (deer) population which can affect the Komodo dragons. ‘
Park Ranger Stephanos Jalak also agrees that the deer are now safe.
“The locals have understood this and now the deer hunting is very decreasing. But on other occasions, we have to stop it with the police and the military.” The village called Komodo now contains two thousand people which was a small slum area along the coast. Guesthouses have been built here for tourists. Generators now provide electricity at night.
Seventy percent of the population of the island of Komodo livelihood is connected to tourism, and the idea of limiting the number of people coming here is disastrous. Noor, who runs a stall in the local market, is also worried about what will happen in the future. She says local villagers can no longer live in their old ways.
‘We no longer have boats used for fishing. We can’t even hunt the animals and we don’t even have land. ‘
Local guide Abdul Ghafoor Qasim said that if people were now pushed back to this lifestyle, it would have a bad effect on the environment.
‘This will force all the villagers to go to the sea again and use the bomb method for fishing, which will destroy the national park’s aquatic life. Otherwise, the villagers will go back to the forest and illegally cut down the trees. ‘
People on the island are scared because of the governor’s plan. 17-year-old Rosa Sephira says, ‘We don’t want to go from this area. We are not disrupting the natural life of Komodo. “Komodos and humans live here together. We can work with the governor to better protect Komodos. We don’t have to leave here. ‘
Researcher Dr. Tim also agrees that locals on the island are not any danger for Komodos.
‘I have traveled thousands of kilometers in the Komodo National Park over the years. I’ve spent years in the field, and I don’t see people cutting down trees, hunting or setting fire to the forest. I think the locals respect their environment to the best extent. ” Residents on the island of Komodo say that one of the reasons for honoring their dragons is the story of the Dragon Queen. Like many Indonesians, Haji Amin is a good Muslim who has also done Hajj. He says the reason for the locals’ relationship with the Komodos is not a religion but history.
Local Villagers Story:
Local villagers tell the story that there was a queen living in Komodo, which people used to call Patri Naga or Dragon Queen. He married a man named Naju and they had twins, a boy, and another baby dragon.
Haji Amin says that when he grew up, the boy’s only like to eat raw meat.
‘He would grab the neighbors’ chickens and eat them. The people there were angry with this. At the end of the story, the boy goes into the forest. But he comes back to the village to see his mother and brother. ‘
And this is the reason why locals are not afraid of big lizards. Even though they have sharp teeth and their poisonous sting can make anyone’s death within a few hours. The size of these lizards can be up to 10 feet in size. And this is the reason why locals are not afraid of big lizards. Even though they have sharp teeth and their poisonous sting can make anyone’s death within a few hours. The size of these lizards can be up to 10 feet in size.
She says that I’m not bothered by dragons. I’m just worried about the kids swimming in the sea, they can drown. ‘
‘If you are a Komodian, you don’t need to worry. They (dragons) will not interfere with your life.
Casualties caused by Komodo Dragons:
There is no official record of how many casualties or injuries were caused by the Komodo dragon attacks in the Komodo National Park. However, authorities say in the last 10 years, they have known only 15 attacks, one of which was severe.
The governor says he has been very modest. They have a complete plan on how the island of Komodo can be transformed.
The governor says that when people come here, they think it’s a forest. We want to make the Komodos really wild. People will come here and see the Komodos in a natural environment and then they will be very wild and dangerous.
The governor’s arguments have had great support after a group of smugglers of the Komodo. Indonesian police say a group of locals with international ties successfully smuggled 45 Komodos children out of the country. He was arrested in March.
In fact, DNA tests later revealed that the children of the Komodos were caught from Flores Island and not from Komodo Island.
Indonesia’s anti-smuggling force is trying to curb this illegal wildlife trade. Wild animals sale can be seen in animal markets in Indonesia.
Four children of the Komodos recovered by the force are now housed in the protected area of Java Island. Apart from these, other recovered rare animals are also kept in small cages.
The governor says.”As long as I am a defender of Komodo, no one can even try to smuggle dragons,”
The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forests sits in Jakarta, 1416 km from here, to observe the management of the Komodo National Park. But under Indonesia’s local sovereignty laws, local leaders are quite independent.
The governor says Indonesian President Joko Widodo also agrees with his plan, and the president’s recent statement confirms that.
President Widodo said in a recent statement, “We want the Komodo to be a truly safe area in which tourists come in small numbers and the entry fee is quite high.” But he emphasized that any plan in this regard is ‘cohesive’ and its implementation is not in the parts. We are ready to spend a lot of money to fix matters. ‘
The Environment Ministry says the matter is being reviewed and a final decision will not be made in the next few weeks.
“You cannot say that he (Komodo) will be shut down in 2020,” says a senior ministry official. They say, ‘That’s why so many people are asking so many questions! If it has to be closed in accordance with the law, then the environment minister will decide. The governor’s views in this regard are very innovative, but we need to get together and talk with the leaders in Jakarta. ‘
The governor says if his plan is to move forward, the residents will be given a home on another island.
But villagers in Komodo are promising to die fighting for such a situation. The villagers say, ‘If we go from here, the komodos will go with us.
Haji, says: ‘We would rather die than leave this place. This is the land of our ancestors. ‘
They say the government began evacuating them in the late seventies and then it was as if the Komodos Dragons had jumped into the sea to go with us.
“We and Komodo Dragons have such a strong relationship. We will fight to stay here. ‘