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Komodo Island will be closing to tourists starting January 2020. The famous island in Indonesia, home to the ancient lizard, will be banning visitors to allow for conservation efforts of the creatures after cases of smuggling have emerged.
Komodo Island is one of the most-visited tourist spots in the country and the Komodo dragon the target. The lizards can grow three metres long and can weigh over 50 kilograms. They also have a poisonous bite, which was discovered only a decade or so ago by scientists.
Reports of smuggling of the dragon eggs have surfaced and to ensure the safety of the lizards and increasing its population, the island will remain shut temporarily. However, no dates have been yet announced for a reopening. It is believed conservation efforts will take over a year.
Five accused have been nabbed by the Indonesian authorities after it was found they had sold over 40 of the endangered species via social media for 500m rupiah each.
While only the Komodo Island will shut, the Komodo National Park will remain open so don’t be too sad. Over the years, the Unesco-protected Park has been catering to almost 1.5m tourists annually. While to see the lizards in their natural surroundings are a magnificent sight, it is believed only 5,000 or such remain in the wild.
“It really is a pity. To see the lizards in their natural surroundings was a dream. And to be deprived of such a sight due to unethical reasons really disheartens me,” said Raka Mittra, a Kolkata-based traveller who recently visited the island.
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