The decision to close the island in 2020 was taken after the theft of more than 40 Komodo dragons, the world's largest lizard and a target of smugglers.

As of 2020, tourists will no longer be allowed to enter the exotic island of Komodo, in Indonesia. The decision was taken after the theft of more than 40 Komodo dragons, an endemic species in the southwest of the country, targeted by smugglers.

The temporary stoppage was necessary in an attempt to increase the population of these animals as well as preserve their habitat. This is a matter that has been debated by local authorities since the beginning of 2019 and, in April, the decision was finally announced by the spokesman for the province of Sonda Oriental, Marius Jelamud, and the country's Ministry of the Environment.

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Photo: Pixabay

According to the local newspaper Time, the traffickers who stole the animals earned the equivalent of R$134.8 thousand with each dragon. The same publication also disclosed that the island is expected to remain closed for at least 12 months from January next year.

Smuggling on Komodo Island

Komodo dragons are often compared to dinosaurs because of their resemblance to the giant prehistoric animal. This species of lizard, which is the largest in the world, can reach three meters in length and weigh over 100 kilograms.

Photo: Pixabay

With a highly venomous bite, these animals are targeted by smugglers for the creation of antibiotics. Indonesian officials said that in addition to dragons, other animals from the island are also being smuggled, such as wild cattle, cockatoos and other birds.

Photo: Pixabay

Komodo Island is part of an archipelago that belongs to the Komodo National Park, where about 5,700 dragons currently live, according to UNESCO. There are also two other large islands in the area that can be visited and that should continue to receive tourists.

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