The Komodo National Park, situated within the Lesser Sunder Islands of Indonesia, is due to close to tourists for a year.
Local authorities announced the closure of the popular park last Friday, citing the need to increase the population of Komodo dragons and deer.
An official detailed timeline for the temporary shutdown is yet to be released.
With no visitors roaming the park, officials would be able to better manage the site and develop the natural habitat.
The drop in the lizards’ numbers is likely due to the decrease in the deer population. The deer are the key source of food for the Komodo dragons, but have been subject to poaching over the years.
The government is also allocating a budget of US$ 7 million to the development of the entire UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to improving the park’s natural landscape, and cultivating the livestock of animal inhabitants, the funds would also go to building infrastructure in the area.
The national park was subject to public attention late last year, when the local governor proposed spiking the entrance fees by almost 50 times to a massive US$500, stating that only “extraordinary people” with “deep pockets are allowed to” visit the national treasure.
The Komodo dragons are carnivorous and also known as the world’s largest living species of lizards. Having inhabited the Lesser Sunder Islands for millions of years, they are capable of growing up to 3 metres in length and weighing up to 70 kilogrammes.
In addition to the majestic Komodo dragons, the Komodo National Park is teeming with flora and fauna, and boast an abundant marine biodiversity.