Indonesian authorities have done an about-turn and will not close Komodo Island – home of the dragons – to preserve the area’s environment.
In July, authorities announced that the island would close for one year but on Monday Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Indonesia’s environment and forestry minister, reversed the decision, saying that the 1,727 Komodo dragons living on the island were not under threat.
It was earlier claimed that an increasing number of tourists were affecting the animals’ mating habits. There were also concerns about poachers targeting Komodo dragons and deer, their main prey.
In 2018, 39 cruise ships visited Komodo Island while there are 45 scheduled visits in 2019. Along with swimming and snorkelling at Pink Beach, cruise ship passengers take tours in the national park to see the giant monitor lizards.
The news that the island will stay open will be welcomed by those living on Komodo, who rely on visitors for income.