Komodo Islands National Park (World Heritage)

Komodo Islands National Park (World Heritage)

The 1880 km² national park was established to protect the Komodo dragon, but also other animals and plants. It consists of various protected areas on the islands of Komodo and Rinca, several smaller islets and coastal sections of Flores and neighboring islands. These areas are inhabited by a total of around 5700 specimens of the giant lizards.

Komodo Islands National Park: Facts

Official title: Komodo Islands National Park
Natural monument: 2321 km² national park with forest reserve Mbeliling and Nggorang as well as nature reserve Way Wuul-Mburak, consisting of the islands Komodo and Rinca as well as numerous small islets and part of Flores, Pulau Komodo with extensive savannah and Pulau Rinca with »rolling hills« like the Doro Oro (667 m); Komodo as home to around 1700 Komodo dragons, estimated total population in the national park around 5000 animals
Continent: Asia
Country: Indonesia
Location: Komodo Islands, west of Flores and east of Sumbawa
Appointment: 1991
Meaning: volcanic habitat of the Komodo dragons found nowhere else in the world
Flora and fauna: Vegetation with mangroves of the species Avicennia marina, Rhizophora mangle and stylosa as well as Bruguiera species, palmyra palms, the legume Cassia javanica, tamarind, the Podocarpus neriifolius, which belongs to the stone slice, and the Oroxylum belonging to the Bignoniaceae; In addition to the Komodo dragons, the fauna includes other reptiles such as the green turtle and the hawksbill turtle, the worm-shaped blind lizard Dibamus novaeguineae, the Asian half-toe gecko, the Flores forest skink, the elaphe subradiata, which belongs to the climbing snakes, the blind subradiata, chain-tailed viper and the subradiata; Mammals such as blue whale, water buffalo, como rat and spotted musang; Birds such as yellow-crested cockatoo, green-backed nectar bird, bronze fruit pigeon, gloss beetle pigeon, Brahmin consecration and white-bellied sea eagle; Fish like whale shark and blacktip reef shark

On the island of dragons

When the then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl paid a state visit to Indonesia in 1983, according to estatelearning, he received an unusual, difficult-to-handle gift: two Komodo dragons that had recently been caught. Employees at the Zoo Aquarium in Berlin, to which the Chancellor passed the gift on, described the two young monitor lizards with a length of 1.25 to 1.35 meters and a weight of 4.2 and 6.3 kilograms as “very petite”: adult Komodo dragons can be up to three meters long and weigh over a hundred kilograms.

If you don’t want to watch the giant lizards in the zoo, but in the wild, you have to look for them in their only area of ​​distribution worldwide. It includes the island of Komodo, which belongs to the Lesser Sunda Islands, some smaller neighboring islands and areas in the far west of the larger island of Flores.

The crossing to Komodo, which lasts several hours and is rather uncomfortable due to the strong ocean currents and whirlpools, offers the opportunity to prepare for adventures with the giant lizards, which with their plump body, their long tail, which is well suited as a weapon, and the deeply forked yellow tongue are close relatives of the lindworms and Dragons from the legends of mankind appear. In fact, the Komodo dragons are the largest species in the monitor family and descendants of the dinosaurs.

“We see the reptile halfway into the anus of the buffalo and tug and swallow for a good quarter of an hour. It literally devours the animal’s bowels from within! When it finally reappears and holds shreds of intestine in its mouth for a long time, it is so covered with mucus that it cannot even open its eyes, ”is how Pierre Pfeffer describes the rather repulsive table manners of the lizards in a travelogue published in the 1960s. They not only feed on buffalo, but also on wild boars, horses, goats, monkeys and carrion, rob nests and now and then also eat fish – even fatal attacks on people are mentioned in credible depictions.

If you circle over the islands in a plane, Komodo, embedded in an archipelago with shallow, turquoise shimmering coastal zones and coral reefs, appears to be the perfect South Sea dream. When approaching by boat, the island with its grassy hills and the cliffs that sometimes plunge steeply into the sea evokes memories of the north of Ireland, but the fan fronds of the palmyra palms correct the picture: We are in the tropics.

The barren soils are hardly suitable for agricultural use, and yet there is a village on the almost 340 square kilometer island. Its residents live from fishing and breeding goats, which they sell to the state nature and forest protection authority. The latter not only maintains a guest house on Komodo, it also sells the goats to tourists, who use them to feed the monitor lizards at precisely defined times at precisely defined places – always accompanied by an expert employee of the nature conservation authority, because since the disappearance of a Swiss man in 1974 there have been forays Banned across the island without a guide. Even if the wilderness is not that free, the spectacle should not be missed, because the rather shy lizards are hardly to be found on hikes across the island, and who wants to take the risk of encountering a hungry and unpredictable specimen? When they “eat” the previously slaughtered goat bait, the monitor lizards live up to their reputation: Smaller animals climb on the backs of larger ones to get to the carcass, greedily they tear out large chunks of meat and swallow them without chewing, and finally one devours one Lizard the goat’s head with horns.

Komodo Islands National Park (World Heritage)