As several cases of Komodo dragon smugglings have been reported, authorities have placed a temporary tourism ban on the island to protect the endangered species
Illegal trade of exotic animals is a rampaging industry nowadays. The internet has enabled perpetrators to sell endangered animal species across the globe, with minimal efforts. The Komodo dragon, one of the most ruthless predators in the world, has also fallen prey to this illegal trade. The Indonesian authorities found that the animal was available for sale on Facebook. Not only can the animal easily kill and devour a human, but the species has been classified as endangered for a long time now. This illegal poaching, and the falling numbers of the animal populace, has forced the government to place a tourism ban on the Komodo Island, home to a majority of the dragons, and a major tourist attraction as well.
Reports place the estimate of live Komodo dragons at a mere 5,000. Recently, authorities arrested five individuals in East Java, who were accused of smuggling Komodo dragons, and other endangered animals as well. They were found to have sold 41 Komodo dragons till now, with one going for as much as 500 million rupiah (approx. US$ 35,000). The authorities realized that the animals need to be protected, as the species was already on the wane, owing to depleting natural habitats, and prey animals.
The dragon has always been a major tourist attraction in the islands where it resides; Komodo, Rinca, and Flores islands. However, the government has been forced to issue a tourism ban because of their dwindling numbers. The island will be closed for tourism for a year, during which the forest department will try to replenish the vegetation, which will help sustain the life of deer species, the dragon’s primary prey.
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