Friday, July 15, 2011


Enjoying the wild Komodo

by Benny D Koestanto / Rose Wulan Kusuma, executive summary by Darmansjah

Travelers close look at the life of the Komodo dragon on Rinca Island, Komodo National Park, West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara, last October. In 2009, the Komodo National Park was visited more than 36,000 tourists, 95% are foreign tourists.

Green scenery adorn Loh Buaya, Rinca Island, Komodo National Park (KNP). Recently a moment to enjoy the atmosphere, Yonas Ora (43), Komodo National Park officials, reminding visitors to remain vigilant against the threat of the bite of the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis).

Visit to Komodo National Park (KNP), located in West Manggarai regency, East Nusa Tenggara, it must be so adventurous. Although looks lazy, dragons or ancient animals called by local residents remain wild ora.

We saw himself, though a flock of dragons at first seem lazy to avoid the sun, under the stage house used as a dormitory of the forest officers who guard dragons, once an animal moves, the other will follow quickly. A middle-aged woman, who came with a group of foreign tourists, screaming in horror and saw the movement away from the dragons.

Bite cases last happened to a forestry officer in February 2010. A year earlier, the same thing happened to another officer. Both must be flown to Denpasar, Bali, to get stitches.

As many as 200,000 residents living in West Manggarai regency who was only 7 years after bloomed from Manggarai regency. During 2009, 36,431 tourists visited the area. More than 95 percent are foreign tourists who dominated European tourists, such as the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Belgium. Total tourist expenditure per year in the area reached Idr185 billion.


When it comes to tourism potential, Komodo National Park is like gold. The existence of dragons ancient animals proved to be easy getting the world's attention. The area was the title as "a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve" by UNESCO in 1986, only six years since designated as the Komodo National Park.

Aside from being a native habitat dragons, Komodo National Park area is also a habitat for a number of other unique wildlife, like birds Hirst (Megapodius Reinwardt), Rinca rat (Rattus rintjanus), and the Timor deer (Cervus timorensis).

National park that consists of the mainland area of ​​40,728 hectares and 132,572 hectares of marine waters (2008 data). There are three largest islands, namely Pulau Komodo (33,937 hectares, an estimated 1200 population of Komodo dragons tail), Rinca (19,627 hectares, an estimated 1100 population of Komodo dragons tail), and the island of Padar (2017 acres, no dragons). In addition, there is also a small island, the island of Gili Motang, occupied about 100 komodo.

KNP region includes one of the world's richest marine areas. Waters covering an area of ​​1214 square kilometers it has mangroves, seamounts, and semi-enclosed bays. Regions with high diversity was inhabited more than 1,000 species of fish, 260 species of coral, and 70 species of sponges.

"All the world's eyes fixed on us. We wants to run as fast as possible, but we also look at our actual conditions, "said West Manggarai Regent Dulla Augustine.

Dulla just two months was elected Regent of West Manggarai. Several times he had paused in the middle of an interview on the sidelines of the party that was held in a remote village in the district. He knew very well that big job waiting in front of the eye.

We need to appreciate the step Dulla prohibiting mining activities are a threat to the sustainability of the KNP, West Manggarai tourism, nature conservation and NTT. Beginning in October 2010, he issued a decree to stop all mining activities. Mining judged to be in synergy with the development of the tourism sector is a priority for the West Manggarai.

According to him, bringing tourists to the West Manggarai be followed by efforts to facilitate access. That means lower costs for up to Labuan Bajo to the KNP region. Open access, and district antarkecamatan means opening the door for the empowerment of local communities. Dulla want the fruit and vegetables for the tourist in Labuan Bajo supplied the local community. During these vegetables come from the island of Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, while the fruit came from Java and Bali.

Bali became the main door to Labuan Bajo. Until now, the new small-bodied aircraft can land at Komodo Airport in Labuan Bajo. Labuan Bajo in the new three-star hotel.

Now the airport runway was extended to 1.8 miles which is sufficient to accommodate Fokker 50 aircraft types. "Ideally, the length of runway to 2 kilometers, so the Fokker 28 can land here, we're trying to do serious," said Dulla hoping funds from the central government in the form of a special allocation of funds to the region enlarged.

According to the Head of Sustyo Iriyono KNP, KNP tourism development can not be opened as wide as possible because they have to prioritize conservation of dragons and their habitat. Until now, only the region Loh Liang and Loh Buaya area of ​​160 hectares was opened.

According to him, not easy to preserve the KNP region. In the 25 Year Management Plan (2000-2025) Komodo National Park issued the Directorate General of Protection and Conservation of Nature is revealed, some terrestrial and aquatic habitats in KNP area were badly damaged. About 150 square kilometers of terrestrial ecosystems damaged by fire and TNK-making papyrus. Coral reefs in danger of collapse due to destructive fishing practices, such as bombing and cyanide fishing.

To reduce that tendency, "Balai TNK" last few years to empower the community throught various training anf offering alternative livelihoods, such as the development of pelagic fisheries, fish farming, and seaweed.

 Currently we are still awaiting the announcement of poll results New 7 Wonders of Nature. Whatever the outcome, do not reduce the morale of the Government of West Manggarai regency, Central KNP, along with stakeholders to prepare a "red carpet" for tourists as well as empower communities and bring the dragons worldwide.

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