- Title: Living with the dragons: a guide on Komodo Island
- Date: 26th August 2019
- Summary: KOMODO ISLAND, EAST NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE, INDONESIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) NATURALIST GUIDE, RIZALDIAN SYAHPUTRA, PUTTING ON UNIFORM SHIRT SYAHPUTRA LEAVING ROOM SYAHPUTRA LEAVING HOUSE, SITTING DOWN TO PUT ON SHOES SYAHPUTRA TYING SHOELACES (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) NATURALIST GUIDE ON KOMODO ISLAND, RIZALDIAN SYAHPUTRA SAYING: "I am a naturalist guide on Komodo Island. I guide (visitors), explain the Komodo island and its wildlife, and take care of the tourists who visit Komodo National Park." KOMODO DRAGON WALKING SYAHPUTRA TAKING A WOODEN STICK FROM RACK (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) NATURALIST GUIDE ON KOMODO ISLAND, RIZALDIAN SYAHPUTRA SAYING: "My name is Rizaldian Syahputra, usually people call me Rizal. I work as a naturalist guide in Komodo National Park. I have been working here for four years. I really like to work here because I like conservation, I like nature, and (I like) to see Komodo (dragons) and other animals, and interact with them." (UPSOUND) (English) VARIOUS OF SYAHPUTRA GUIDING TOURISTS AND INTRODUCING KOMODO DRAGONS, SAYING: "His length is three meters and then his weight is 100 kilograms, so it means he can eat 80 kilograms (of food)." (UPSOUND) (English) SYAHPUTRA AND TOURISTS WALKING, SYAHPUTRA SAYING: "We can now follow him for a while, five or seven meters is good distance. Oh, there's another one coming, look, look, come, come, come." KOMODO DRAGON WALKING TOWARDS THE GROUP KOMODO DRAGON LOOKING ON AND SEARCHING FOR FOOD TOURIST TAKING PICTURES OF KOMODO DRAGON VARIOUS OF SYAHPUTRA TALKING WITH TOURIST KOMODO WITH PEELING SKIN WALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) NATURALIST GUIDE ON KOMODO ISLAND, RIZALDIAN SYAHPUTRA SAYING: "The closure is definitely something that makes us unhappy. First of all, we as the people of Komodo Island do not approve, as 80 percent of us make a living through tourism, among them five to seven percent work as naturalist guides. When here (Komodo Island) is closed, we are scared that we won't have a job." VARIOUS OF KOMODO DRAGON EATING AND FALLING DOWN FROM TREE TRUNK (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) NATURALIST GUIDE ON KOMODO ISLAND, RIZALDIAN SYAHPUTRA SAYING: "Regarding the recovery (of Komodo Dragon's population), I don't personally totally agree with the argument. If we really have to do it, I hope we can find a middle ground on the solution, like not closing the whole island but just a certain area. Because Komodo Island is a vast island, there are many other low-lying areas that can be used for recovery purpose, but not this area and don't block visitors to enter (the whole island)." (UPSOUND) (English) SYAHPUTRA INTRODUCING KOMODO NESTING GROUND, SAYING: "Komodo nesting ground; and I'd like to tell you that it (was) built by a bird." SIGN READING (English): "KOMODO NEST" (UPSOUND) (English) SYAHPUTRA EXPLAINING KOMODO MATING PROCESS, SAYING: "The mating season happens like May, June, July. And August and September is time to lay their eggs on these nests." SIGN READING (English): "NO TRESPASSING / KOMODO NESTING GROUND" SYAHPUTRA AND TOURISTS WALKING (UPSOUND) (English) SYAHPUTRA SAYING GOODBYE TO VISITORS / SYAHPUTRA AND TOURISTS WALKING AWAY: "I wanna say that you help us to post this island and these animals... and invite somebody else to come. My name is Rizal, I really appreciated it if you come here again. Thank you very much and you can enjoy your holiday. Enjoy your shopping as well, there is a souvenir shop down there and you can enjoy. Thank you very much. Thank you, have a nice holiday."
- Embargoed: 9th September 2019 08:45
- Keywords: Indonesia Komodo Island Naturalist Guide Komodo Nature Wildlife dragons lizards
- Location: KOMODO ISLAND, EAST NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE, INDONESIA
- City: KOMODO ISLAND, EAST NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE, INDONESIA
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Environment,Nature/Wildlife,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001ATZRTC7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: For the last four years, Indonesian Rizaldian Syahputra has spent his days introducing his hometown to tens of thousands of tourists from all around the world, who are eager to get a glimpse of the special residents that are only found in this part of the world -- the Komodo dragon.
As a naturalist guide on Komodo Island, the 20-year-old enjoys the special privilege of taking care of the giant lizards, as well as explaining their habitat and life to curious visitors.
Syahputra usually starts his day at 6:30 a.m. local time, waiting for visitors and then bringing them for a walkabout in the park with a harpoon-shaped wooden stick in hand. The stick is used to deter the Komodo dragons in case they attack.
The hospitality management graduate said he enjoys sharing his passion for wildlife and nature. But this may come to an end as the island is set to close from the public starting January 2020.
Syahputra fears he will not be able to keep the job that pays him 500,000 Indonesian rupiah (US$ 35.04) a day, as well as his homeland. He added that up to eight percent of the village's 2,000 residents are working as guide in the national park.
"The closure is definitely something that make us unhappy. Komodo Island is a vast island, there are many other areas that can use for recovery purpose," said Syahputra, adding that he does not totally agree with the authorities' Komodo dragon rehabilitation theory.
The government said 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.
However, the planned closure only applies to Komodo island itself, where about 1,700 of the animals are estimated to live. Others in the national park that are home to Komodo dragons, such as the islands of Rinca and Padar, will stay open, the government said.
The closure has sparked protest among local residents who will be forced to evict.
(Production: Tommy Ardiansyah, Sekar Nasly, Heru Asprihanto, Angie Teo)
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