If you happen to have plans to visit Komodo Island, the most well-known home of the world’s largest species of lizard, the Komodo dragon, you might want to go this year, before the island is closed to tourism in 2020.
Officials from the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) government have discussed plans to shut down Komodo Island for some time now, but with Monday’s visit to the island by NTT Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat, along with the province’s regents and mayors, the plan looks pretty much set in place.
“The president has agreed to plans for a one-year revitalization [in 2020], specifically for Komodo Island, but tourists are welcome to visit other islands,” Viktor told the press, as seen in a video published by Metrotvnews.com.
Viktor added that, during the year it’s closed, the iconic island will be completely revitalized for tourism, with better forest management and better food supplies for the endangered lizard.
The NTT government has cited the lack of food for Komodo dragons as one of its primary concerns, noting the lack of animals they prey upon, particularly the deer that are native to the park’s islands
“We need a considerable amount of time to revitalize Komodo Island to make it a world-class conservation site,” Viktor said, as quoted by Kumparan.
The governor also expressed his hope that the revitalization would benefit local residents and ultimately protect the endangered species.
“I want this asset of ours to be managed properly, so it can benefit more people. The people must get a big portion, not merely scraps. If we don’t manage it, this animal could go extinct … I want to be remembered as the father of Komodo [dragons],” Viktor said, as reported by Gatra.
If you can’t make it to Komodo Island before 2020, don’t worry too much. The closure will not affect the other 171 islands located within Komodo National Park, several of which are also home to Komodo dragons.