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The island is portion of Komodo National Park, a conservation region involving islands of Sumbawa and Flores.

JAKARTA: 

Indonesia plans to close its eastern island of Komodo to the public subsequent year in a bid to conserve uncommon Komodo dragons, the biggest living species of lizard, a provincial official mentioned on Tuesday.

The island is portion of Komodo National Park, a conservation region involving the islands of Sumbawa and Flores visited by additional than 176,000 vacationers from all more than the planet in 2018.

As properly as the gorgeous beaches and scenery, several guests came to see the dragons, only identified in the wild in eastern Indonesia.

“We have to save Komodo dragons from extinction, that is the point,” Josef Nae Soi, deputy governor of the province of East Nusa Tenggara, told Reuters.

Even immediately after the closure of the island, exactly where about 1,700 of the animals are estimated to reside, other folks in the national park that are household to Komodo dragons, such as the islands of Rinca and Padar, will keep open, he mentioned.

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A Komodo Dragon is observed in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. (Reuters)

Closing the island to vacationers aims to avert interference and reduce the danger of poaching to enable a recovery in the numbers of the animals’ preferred prey, such as deer, buffalo and wild boar.

“Folks come wanting to see… how (the dragons) mate, how they lay their eggs, how they hatch, and how the young Komodos fight for their life,” Soi mentioned.

The island could reopen a year later, but it was planned to be a premium tourist location, he mentioned.

Media had previously recommended the province planned to charge vacationers an entrance charge of $500, but Soi mentioned no charge had been decided.

Plans to limit guests have sparked controversy in the island’s tourism sector as properly as amongst residents who rely on guests for their livelihood.

Soi acknowledged some resistance, but mentioned President Joko Widodo authorized the strategy and authorities have been holding talks with neighborhood leaders on how greatest to relocate residents.

“We want Komodo island to be intended for conservation,” Widodo was quoted on the web site of the cabinet secretary as saying immediately after a stop by to the nearby island of Rinca final week. “If you cannot afford it, you do not will need to go there.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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