- Title: Caught between dragons and tourism: Komodo villagers fear losing their homes
- Date: 26th August 2019
- Summary: KOMODO ISLAND, EAST NUSA TENGGARA, INDONESIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) KOMODO DRAGON GUIDE AND TOURISTS WALKING TOURISTS STOPPING TO SEE KOMODO DRAGON TOURISTS LOOKING AT KOMODO DRAGON TOURIST TAKING PICTURES KOMODO DRAGON TOURISTS AND KOMODO DRAGON (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURIST FROM FRANCE, ANYA SAYING: "I think, if they close to tourism because it is like destroying the habitation of like the dragon and villagers it is good. If they close it to do something else, maybe like resorts or build something that it doesn't belong to nature it's not a great idea. Because even the tourists are coming here to see nature and dragon and even meet the villagers if they can, but not to see a big building or resort to enjoy the beach." TOURISTS ARRIVING AT PORT BEFORE WALKING INTO NATIONAL PARK TOURISTS TALKING AND WALKING TOURISTS WALKING TO THE GATE OF KOMODO NATIONAL PARK SIGN READING (English): "WELCOME TO KOMODO NATIONAL PARK" KOMODO DRAGONS KOMODO DRAGON'S CLAW GUIDE INTRODUCING KOMODO DRAGON TO TOURISTS / SIGN READING (English) "PLEASE KEEP SILENT" TOURISTS LISTENING TO GUIDE LABUAN BAJO, EAST NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE, INDONESIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF WEST MANGGARAI REGENT'S OFFICE WEST MANGGARAI REGENT, AGUSTINUS DULA, TALKING TO MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) WEST MANGGARAI'S REGENT, AGUSTINUS DULA SAYING: "If we want transformation over there, it means we need planning models for how to manage the forest, how to improve conservation with the aim to make it attractive to the tourists, to make it feel 'expensive', and up to the standards as one of the wonders of the world, popular internationally and 'exclusive'. The aim is to optimise the tourism potential." KOMODO ISLAND, EAST NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE, INDONESIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) (MUTE) TIMELAPSE OF SUNRISE AT PORT OF KOMODO ISLAND VILLAGE KOMODO ISLAND, EAST NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE, INDONESIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) AERIAL SHOT OF VILLAGE PEOPLE DISEMBARKING BOAT VARIOUS OF WOMAN WALKING ON JETTY VILLAGE VARIOUS OF VILLAGER, DAHLIA, SWEEPING FLOOR (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) KOMODO ISLAND VILLAGER, DAHLIA SAYING: "We have been living as one for years with this Komodo village. So, if we are ordered to move, we don't want to. Moreover, my ancestors and father's graves are here if we move, what will happen to their graves?" VARIOUS OF VILLAGER MUTTAQIN MAKING KOMODO DRAGON WOODEN CRAFT (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) WOODEN CRAFTSMAN, MUTTAQIN SAYING: "Because our livelihoods depend on souvenirs, so if the closure does happen how can we earn money? Because we only work at Loh Liang (Komodo National Park)." HAND CARVING MINIATURE KOMODO DRAGON VARIOUS OF MEN MAKING MINIATURE KOMODO DRAGON MAN HOLDING KOMODO WOODEN CRAFT SOUVENIR MARKET KOMODO T-SHIRT VARIOUS OF SOUVENIR SELLER SELLING KOMODO DRAGON WOODEN CRAFT TO TOURIST LABUAN BAJO, EAST NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE, INDONESIA (AUGUST 23, 2019) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST, UMBU WULANG TA PARANGGI SAYING: "We hope the government can deal with conservation in a more 'humane' way to increase the population of Komodo dragons and revive the ecosystem of Komodo Island, not by closing Komodo Island, nor breaking the ties between the community and the Komodo dragons." KOMODO ISLAND, EAST NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE, INDONESIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) KOMODO DRAGON TOURISTS TAKING PICTURES OF KOMODO DRAGON GUIDE LOOKING AT KOMODO DRAGON KOMODO DRAGON
- Embargoed: 9th September 2019 01:56
- Keywords: Indonesia Komodo Island village protest komodo dragon closure
- Location: LABUAN BAJO, KOMODO ISLAND, INDONESIA
- City: LABUAN BAJO, KOMODO ISLAND, INDONESIA
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Environment,Nature/Wildlife,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001ATUS1FR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Indonesia plans to close its eastern island of Komodo to the public from January next year in a bid to conserve rare Komodo dragons, the largest living species of lizards.
The island is part of Komodo National Park, a conservation area between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores visited by more than 176,000 tourists from all over the world in 2018.
As well as the beautiful beaches and scenery, many visitors came to the park, a World Heritage Site, to see the dragons, only found in the wild in eastern Indonesia.
Closing the island to tourists aims to avert interference and cut the risk of poaching to allow a recovery in the numbers of the animals' preferred prey, such as deer, buffalo and wild boar, according to local authorities.
But the plan also involves moving about 2,000 villagers off the island, and turning it into a premium tourist destination ahead of its potential re-opening a year later.
"If they close to tourism because it is like trying (re-) habilitation of dragon and villagers is good. If they close it to do something maybe like resorts or build something that it doesn't belong to nature it's not a great idea," said a French tourist Anya.
For villagers who have been living on the island for generations, and already lost their land to the park since its opening in 1980, relocating from the island could mean losing their family roots and the only source of income.
"My ancestors and father's graves are here, if we move, what will happen to their graves?" said villager Dahlia.
"Because our livelihoods depend on souvenirs, so if the closure does happen how can we earn money? Because we only work at Loh Liang (Komodo National Park)," said wooden craftsman Muttaqin.
Details about relocation are still unknown, but the closure has sparked fear and protests of local villagers.
"We hope the government can deal with conservation in a more 'humane' way to increase the population of Komodo dragons and revive the ecosystem of Komodo Island, not by closing Komodo Island, nor breaking the ties between the community and the Komodo dragons," said Umbu Wulang Ta Paranggi, a local environmental activist.
(Production: Tommy Ardiansyah, Heru Asprihanto, Sekar Nasly, Angie Teo)
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