The island of Komodo dragons. Indonesia
The Komodo National Park is located on the territory of the Lesser Sunda Islands, on the border between the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara. The park was founded in 1980 in order to protect the Komodo monitor lizards, or as they are also called, giant Indonesian monitor lizards (Lacertilia). These relict reptiles are the descendants of predatory dinosaurs that became extinct 160 million years ago. They are the largest lizards on the earth today. The length of such a being can reach up to 3 meters, and weight – 70 kg. The Komodo National Park and its Komodo Dragons are considered to be one of the 7 new wonders of the world. And in 1991 this park was included into the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The park of Komodo Dragons covers an area of 1733 square kilometers, 1214 square kilometers of which are the marine waters. This area includes three main islands – Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as 26 small islands. Giant monitor lizards were found here in 1912, since then the island is known as the island of Komodo. The local climate is perfect for the Indonesian monitor lizards – hot and dry, with vegetation typical of the savanna. Part of the park is occupied by tropical rain forests, coastal part of the park are the mangrove forests. In the northeastern part of the island there are coral reefs, which are of about 26 species. Snow-white beaches are washed by the blue sea water. All this is such wild and so attractive natural scenery!
The island is distant from the traditional civilization and its natural surroundings are completely untouched. So this place can be confidently called the “lost world”. Where else can live such majestic creatures like giant lizards? Only here. How they came here is still unknown. These amazing animals have aggressive character and look frightening, so they were called “Komodo dragons”. About 5,700 giant lizards inhabit these volcanic islands. Komodo Dragons are covered with sturdy squama. They have a long tail; legs have five toes with strong claws. An adult Komodo dragon reaches weight of more than 130 – 150 kg and a length of 3 – 4 m. For this size, it has to live at least for 30 years. In size it can be compared with not very large tiger, or exceeds leopard twice.
Since 1977, the island territories have been divided into several zones – village, tourist and administrative objects; the zone of wildlife which permits a limited number of tourists; the third zone – a strictly protected area, where only park staff and researchers are allowed to be. In the majority here are Muslims, though there are supporters of Christianity and Hinduism. Part of the working population works as rangers in the Komodo National Park. Other can make uncomplicated souvenirs that sell immediately at the spontaneous market. The total population of the reserve is about 2000 inhabitants.
Divers love to visit the Komodo Park because of the extremely rich marine fauna and flora. Tourists can walk along specially laid tracks, or in camps.