TEMPO.CO, Kupang - The population of Komodo dragons at the Komodo National Park in West Manggara, East Nusa Tenggara, reaches 2,897 and is considered to be stable.
"Based on our record, the population of Komodo dragons remains stable, which is between 2,000 and 3,000," said the Park`s Komodo dragon monitoring officer Jackson on Saturday, Feb. 2.
Of the total, Komodo Island has 1,727 Komodo dragons, 1,049 in Rinca Island, 58 in Gili Motang Island, 57 in Nusa Kode, and six in Padar. The number of the rare giant lizards increased, from 1,186 in 2016 to 1,412 in 2017.
The national park had conducted a survey on Komodo dragons with the cooperation of Komodo Survival Project and foreign funding assistance.
The Komodo National Park, comprising the three larger islands of Komodo, Padar, and Rinca, as well as 26 smaller ones, was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon (Veranus komodoensis), the world`s only surviving giant lizard.
In 1977, Komodo National Park was named a biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and in 1991, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2012, it was listed as the New7Wonders of Nature sites.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Komodo dragon is listed on the CITES Appendix I, indicating that the animal is vulnerable to extinction.
The tourism industry, with the Komodo National Park and Labuan Bajo as its major tourist destinations, is the backbone of NTT`s income.
The Komodo National Park recorded revenue amounting to Rp32 billion from tourist visits to the park during 2018, an increase from Rp29 billion in the previous year.
A total of 176,830 tourists had visited the Komodo National Park last year, a surge from 119,599 visitors in 2017. Of last year`s total tourists, 121,409 were foreigners and 55,421 Indonesians.