Indonesia's 'Jurassic Park' Slammed After Photo of Komodo Dragon Goes Viral
Image credits: Instagram.
Indonesian conservationists have slammed plans to turn the home of endangered Komodo dragons into a Jurassic Park-style attraction, after a viral photo showing one of the giant reptiles sparked an online backlash over the development.
Nearly 3,000 of the world's biggest lizard species live on a cluster of islands east of Bali, where they grow to around three metres (10 feet) in length and weigh up to 90 kilograms (200 pounds).
Authorities last month unveiled a proposal to build a tourist development on one of the islands, dubbed "Jurassic Park" after architects published a promotional video of the project set to music from the film franchise.
But environmentalists warned then that it would threaten the already at-risk species.
This week a picture of a Komodo dragon in the path of a truck carrying construction supplies renewed debate over the project, after it was shared widely online.
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Sedih! Komodo berhadap2an dengan truk proyek bangunan Wisata Jurassic di Pulau Rinca. U pertama kalinya Komodo2 ini mendengar deru mesin2 mobil dan menghirup bau asapnya. Akan spt apa dampak proyek2 ini ke depannya? Masih adakah yg peduli dg konservasi? . (Photo supplied)
"The idea to build a Jurassic Park is honestly embarrassing," said Gregorius Afioma, an activist at local social justice NGO Sunspirit.
"People come here to see komodos in their natural habitat... these people are selling a concept where (visitors) can walk around indoors to see komodo dragons, which to me is no different than a zoo," he added.
Rima Melani Bilaut of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, added that the development would further threaten the dragons by reducing the size of their habitat.
"If we control it well and minimise contact with wildlife, the current tourism development will not endanger the komodo population," said an environment ministry official in a statement this week.
Aloysius Suhartim Karya, the head of the West Manggarai Tourism Rescue Society Forum, criticised the construction project and the closures on Rinca by the authorities, saying that they were not in line with the spirit of conserving the Komodos, as evidenced by the recent "stand-off" between lizard and truck, reports Firstpost.
Conservationists have long feared that mass tourism, trafficking and a lack of natural prey threaten the survival of Komodo dragons.
Last year, Indonesia scrapped plans to ban tourists from the conservation area and said it would instead limit visitor numbers and raise entry prices to create a "premium destination".
(With inputs from AFP)