TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - East Nusa Tenggara is set to close the Komodo Island tourist area in West Manggarai district in 2020 despite objections from communities, Deputy Governor of the province, Josef A Nae Soi has stated.
"The decision to close the Komodo Island tourist area is already final, and it will take effect in 2020. This closure is intended for conservation purpose in order to maintain the Komodos population and its habitat," said the deputy governor here Monday.
The protests from the community rejecting the closure of the tourist area was an expected response to the government's policy, Nae Soi remarked.
The closure is an effort to conserve the Komodo National Park and Komodo population from extinction, he said.
The Komodo Island tourist area is a native habitat of the Komodo, therefore it must be free from residential areas so that they can live in the wild in their natural habitat.
"If we want Komodos to live in the wild as in their natural habitat, there should not be any residential areas in the national park," Nae Soi stated.
However, there are already some settlements in Komodo Island.
Therefore, to deal with the issue, East Nusa Tenggara provincial government has made some options for resettlement. They need to decide whether they have to evict the residents from Komodo Island or allow them to stay on with a guarantee of continuing conservation, or gradually remove them from there to resettle them in a new place.
"We just have to negotiate with residents in the area, but the most important thing is to save the Komodos from extinction. The government will release some prey which is the main food of Komodo to feed them," Nae Soi said.
The East Nusa Tenggara government will find a suitable place for the resettlement of the residents after the tourist area closes, he further said.
"East Nusa Tenggara has many empty islands that can be occupied by the residents of Komodo Island," he stated. He also hoped that people who refused to accept the closure of the tourist area would discuss the closure plan in 2020 in order to avoid the polemics.