May - September 2016
The Komodo National Park located within Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands is the border region between the island of Sumbawa (East) and Flores (West). In 1991 the national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Komodo National Park has been selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
The park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Padar, Rinca and 26 smaller ones, with a total area of 1,733 km². The national park was founded in 1980 to protect the famous Komodo dragon. Later it was dedicated to protecting other species, including marine species. As the park is a protected area, industrial fishing boats are prohibited entry and local fishing communities are able to practice sustainable fishing using traditional methods. This has promoted substantial growth in both diversity and the number of marine animals found in the area. Komodo National Park is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. The World Heritage site is blessed with secluded beaches, amazing coral reefs and crystal clear waters. The area has over 260 coral species and more than 1,000 species of fish, marine reptiles, dolphins, manta rays, turtles, whales and dugongs. Komodo is considered one of the best dive sites in the world. Within the national park, hundreds of unique species such as wild boars, water buffalos, deers, monkeys and the famous Komodo Dragons can be spotted. The Komodo Dragon is the largest land-dwelling reptile in the world - the largest found was 3.13 meters long and weighted 166 kg. Their footprints are often seen along pink sandy beaches, or while hiking on the hills with knowledgeable park rangers. To raise their body temperature they bask in the sunlight during the day and then they burrow into the ground at night. Approximately a third of the park is taken up by the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Gili Mota, Nusa Kode and Padar, while the rest is marine territory consisting of coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangroves and semi-enclosed bays.