The number of terrestrial animal species found in Komodo National park is not high, but the area is important from a conservation perspective as some species are endemic. Many of the mammals are Asiatic in origin. Some of the reptiles and birds are Australian in origin. These includes the orange-footed scrubfowl, the lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo and the nosy friarbird. The most famous of Komodo National Park’s animals is the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). It is the world’s largest living lizard and can reach 3 m or more in length and weigh over 90 kg. Other animals include the Timor deer, the main prey of the Komodo dragon, wild horses, (water buffalo, wild boar, long-tailed macaques, palm civets, and fruit bats. Also beware of the snakes inhabiting the island, including the cobra and Russel’s pit viper, both of which are extremely dangerous. As far as the marine fauna is concerned, Komodo National Park includes one of the world’s richest marine environments. It consists of over 260 species of reef building coral, 70 species of sponges, crustaceans, cartilaginous (including manta ray and sharks) over 1,000 species of bony fishes, marine reptiles (including sea turtles), and marine mammals (dolphins, whales, and dugongs).
Komodo National Park lies in the Wallace Region of Indonesia, identified by both the WWF and Conservation International as a global conservation priority area, and is located in the centre of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores in the lesser of Sunda island. Komodo National Park includes three main islands those are Komodo island, Rinca island and Padar island, as well as numerous smaller islands creating a total surface area (marine life and land) of more than 1,800 km². The boundaries include part of the island of Flores, where there are actually even more dragons than on Komodo itself. As well as being home to the Komodo Dragon, also known as the Komodo Monitor, or Ora, the park provides refuge for many other notable terrestrial species. Moreover, the Park includes one of the richest marine environments. Komodo National Park was established in 1980 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986, both indications of the park’s biological importance.
The park was established to guard the unique Komodo Dragon and its habitat, first known to people outside the region in 1910 when Lieutenant Van Steyn van Hensbroek of the Dutch Infantry visited as a result of hearing tantalising rumours of their heroic size. Since then, conservation aims have expanded to protect its entire biodiversity, both marine life and terrestrial.
The majority of the people in and around the park are fishermen originally from Bima on the island of Sumbawa, and from Manggarai, South Flores, and South Sulawesi. Those from South Sulawesi were nomadic people: they moved from place to place in the region of Sulawesi to make their livelihoods. Descendants of the original people of Komodo still live in Komodo, but their culture and language is slowly being integrated with that of recent migrants. Little is known of the early history of the Komodo islanders. They were subjects of the Sultanate of Bima, although the island’s remoteness from Bima meant its affairs were probably little troubled by the Sultanate other than by occasional demand for tribute.
Komodo Dragon is a large species of giant lizard that is only found on Komodo islands in the Indonesian archipelago. Not known to the world until the First World War, the Komodo Dragon is actually a species of Monitor giant Lizard that has been evolving in island isolation for millions years, which has led to it becoming very large indeed. The Komodo Dragon is not only the largest giant lizard in the world, but it also one of the most aggressive and is so powerful that it is able to take prey many times its own size. However, Komodo Dragons are also in severe danger in their natural environments as hunting and habitat loss, along with a shortage of prey, has led to population declines on the few island where they are found in the Komodo National Park.
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