Labuan Bajo officials foil smuggling attempt of young Komodo dragon

File photo of a baby Komodo dragon. Photo: Obtained.
File photo of a baby Komodo dragon. Photo: Obtained.

In a recent operation, authorities thwarted an attempt to smuggle a young Komodo dragon, a protected species native to Indonesia, from Labuan Bajo to port Bali. 

The incident unfolded on Monday when officials discovered the juvenile reptile concealed within a sock, its mouth tightly bound with tape. The contraband was stashed in a backpack belonging to an individual identified only by the initials HR.

HR, it was revealed, had procured the young Komodo dragon from five residents of Pasir Panjang Village on Rinca Island, Komodo National Park. 

Promptly, law enforcement took action, apprehending five individuals named S (33), F (18), J (23), MN (37), and A (20) in connection to the smuggling attempt.

The successful interdiction was achieved through a collaborative effort between the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) chapter of the National Resource Conservation Center (BBKSDA), Komodo National Park authorities, West Manggarai Police, and the Agricultural Quarantine and Labuan Bajo Port Crossing.

NTT BBKSDA spokesman Arief Mahmud revealed that the alleged culprits readily confessed to their involvement, admitting to selling the young Komodo dragon, known to the locals as ora, to HR. 

The initial discovery was made by the officers from the Class II Agricultural Quarantine Station in Ende, Labuan Bajo’s operational jurisdiction. During routine inspections on Monday of ferries prepared for departure at ASDP Labuan Bajo Port, the young Komodo monitor was discovered concealed within a truck transporting bananas bound for Bima in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).

This reptile was reportedly destined for Bali, hailed from Komodo National Park, nestled in the heart of West Manggarai Regency, NTT.

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