NTT Calls for Return of Komodo Dragons Bought on Black Market

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • Komodo dragons on Rinca Island, Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara, Sunday, October 14, 2018. TEMPO/Tony Hartawan

    Komodo dragons on Rinca Island, Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara, Sunday, October 14, 2018. TEMPO/Tony Hartawan

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat demanded whoever purchased Komodo dragons on the black market must return the endangered species to their habitat in NTT.

    “I call on all citizens buying Komodo dragons to return them immediately as it is an illegal purchase,” Viktor told reporters in Kupang, on Monday, April 1.

    The governor made his statement following the findings on the trafficking of 40 Komodo dragons for Rp500 million ($35,000) each revealed by the East Java Police.

    According to him, other countries purchasing the animals have responsibilities to protect them. The police said the protected animals were sold to Thailand and Vietnam through Singapore.

    “Either Komodo dragons from Labuan Bajo, Riung, or anywhere else, please return them immediately to NTT,” Viktor asserted.

    The NTT Police, he added, had been ordered to investigate the trafficking. “If necessary, we will assign police officers to Komodo National Park,” he added. 

    ReadKomodo Island Off Limits to Tourism in 2020, Says Govt 

    The governor also urged the Environment and Forestry Ministry to immediately transfer the management authority of Komodo National Park in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai, to the NTT provincial administration.

    “Komodo National Park is a biosphere reserve acknowledged by Unesco, so it needs serious security measure. The (trafficking) incident proves that Indonesia fails to secure the park, and this is emergency supervision that must be resolved instantly,” Viktor underlined.

    “This [Komodo dragon trafficking] is a conservation crime. All management endeavors must be extra, there should be no more loopholes,” he added.

    YOHANES SEO (CONTRIBUTOR)