The Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard in the world, and it is only found in the volcanic islands of Komodo, Pinca, Padar and other nearby small islands in Indonesian archipelago. The Komodo National Park came into being in 1980 and in 1986, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere reserve.
According to UNESCO, the park has about 5,700 lizards. An adult Komodo Dragon can weigh up to 70kg and can grow up to three metres in length. The park also conserves animal like the lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo, cobra, friarbird, vipers, Timor deer, fruit bats and orange-footed scrubfowl. The park is also home to different varities of coral.
The area used to have human inhabitants even before the park was established. Now, about 4,ooo people live on these islands. They are mainly fishermen and traders. They trace their ancestry to Indonesians as well as Chinese settlers.
Bali is the nearest point from where you can charter a flight or travel via road to the park. There are boat services from Bali, Labuan Bajo, Bima and Lombok. The islands are a treat for Scuba divers. Places like Toro Oi, GPS Point, Nisaleme Island, Letuhoh Reef, South Tala, Tiga dara and Crystal Rock are popular dive sites.
In order to conserve the flora and fauna of the national park and the near by waters, authorities are providing alternative livelihood for the inhabitants of the park and there are many programs for research and to keep a check on the islands’ intricate ecosystems.