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Ancient Animals of Komodo Dragons

Indonesia has an endemic animal dubbed as the last dinosaur, the Komodo dragon. The natural habitat of ancient Komodo dragons is in the Labuan Bajo island cluster, East Nusa Tenggara. 

No wonder labuan Bajo trip is in demand by many local and foreign tourists in order to witness the charm of giant lizards firsthand. Are you among those who are interested? If so, find out first let's find out the origin and which islands are inhabited by Komodo dragons. 

The Brief Origin of Komodo Dragons

According to historical records, komodo dragons were first exposed by European explorers in 1910. He spread the word of an island inhabited by many 'crocodiles' roaming the mainland.

Starting from that, Peter Owens, Director of the Bogor Zoological Museum wrote a scientific journal entitled "On A Large Varanus Species From An Island of Komodo". After that, many expeditions were carried out, for example W. Douglas Burden which successfully brought 9 live Komodo dragons and 3 preserved Komodo dragons.

Next up was Walter Auffenberg who made observations for 11 months on Komodo Island. As a result, he was able to identify about 50 Komodo dragons as well as the characteristics and traits of the reptile.

The ancient animal Komodo dragon originated from the Asian continent migrating to Australia. During their life there, Komodo dragons have evolved to their size. In the end, Komodo dragons returned to their natural habitat around Southeast Asia, precisely the Eastern Indonesia area.

The scientific name of komodo dragon is Varanus komodoensis which is also known as komodo monitor. The term 'varanus' is an ancient word meaning lizard or lizard. This ancient animal only existed in Indonesia and became a protected animal.

Why is it called an ancient animal? The reason is that experts found fossils of certain types of dinosaurs that turned out to have similarities with Komodo dragons. Reportedly, the 'ancestors' of komodo dragons also include carnivorous reptiles and their saliva is as dangerous as komodo dragons.

Best Places to See Komodo

This rare animal called "ora" by locals does have a strong attraction, not only local but also foreign tourists. Many deliberately travel to NTT to see komodo dragons in person.

Usually, tourists choosethe Labuan Bajo trippackage because it will be delivered directly to several locations where Komodo dragons live. If you're curious about anywhere, here's the list:  

Komodo Island

The location of Komodo Island is in the Nusa Tenggara Islands, east of Sumbawa. This island is included in the Komodo National Park area which has existed since 1980 and was officially designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

There are more than 1,700 Komodo dragons on the island which is the natural habitat of this ancient animal. You will be amazed by its huge body size, especially after swallowing its prey raw.

To make it easier to meet Komodo dragons, you should come between July and September. During that time span, Komodo dragons are entering the mating period so more are wandering around to find their partners.

Later, you will be offered 3 types of tracks by a guide called a ranger. The jensi is a short track of 1 km, a medium track of less than 4 km and a long track of about 4.5 km. During the trip, it is mandatory to be accompanied by a ranger for safety.

Not only seeing it from afar, you can also take pictures together. There is no need to be afraid that the ranger will definitely help. If it comes other than the mating season, it can be said that it is a bit difficult to find Komodo dragons.

Because, they prefer to hide in caves or forests, especially komodo dragons that have grown up. So, you have to be ready to explore longer and farther to watch this rare animal up close. Fortunately, there is a ranger who will show his hiding spot.

Rinca Island

Ancient Komodo dragons are also on Rinca Island which is still in the same area as the Komodo National Park. The population of giant lizards on Rinca Island is almost equal to that on Komodo Island, which is around more than 1,400 heads.

You are free to choose the tracking path whether you want short, medium or medium. Fortunately, Rinca Island is not too wide so you will find Komodo dragons faster in certain spots.

When compared to Komodo Island, the size of the giant lizard on Rinca Island is relatively smaller. However, the feed given is more varied such as long-tailed macaques and horses. During the tracking on Rinca Island, you will see the beauty of a large number of palm trees.

Access to this location is very easy and even closer than Komodo Island. For those of you who useLabuan Bajo tripservices from travel agents, you will definitely get a tour offer to Rinca Island. From Labuan Bajo, thejourney takes 2hours.

Gili Motang Island

In addition to large islands, the Komodo National Park area also consists of clusters of small islands such as Gili Motang which covers an area of about 30 km2. The number of Komodo dragons on this island is approximately 59 heads because the population growth is indeed lacking.

While on Gili Motang, you will also encounter guard posts and rangers who guide you around.

Nusa Kode Island

Even less, the number of ancient Komodo dragons on Nusa Kode Island turned out to be less than 50 heads. This island also includes a cluster of Komodo National Parks in addition to the 3 main islands namely Rinca, Komodo and Padar.

The location of Nusa Kode Island is to the south of Rinca Island. If you decide to go there, you have to be in a fit state because the journey is quite long and challenging.

The island is still overgrown with many shrubs and trees. You must be careful when stepping because usually Komodo dragons will emerge from behind dense bushes without realizing it.

Gili Dasami 

The name is indeed less famous than Komodo and Rinca Islands but Gili Dasami is also inhabited by several Komodo dragons. This small island is to the south of Rinca and its area is relatively narrow.

Gili Dasami is suitable for those of you who like the tranquility and beauty of nature because there are not many tourists who stop by. The komodo dragon population is small so you need to make an effort to explore the hills filled with tall bushes. Fun anyway!

Can't wait to take pictures with Komodo dragons? But wait a minute because you must know some rules when visiting the Komodo National Park area for safety, including:

  • Make sure to always be accompanied by a ranger and not separate from the group
  • Make sure you keep a distance from komodo dragons between 3 to 5 meters so that you can anticipate if the Komodo dragon suddenly attacks
  • Must not damage the nest of Komodo dragon eggs that you encounter on the tracking route
  • No fuss, run around and shout because Komodo dragons are very sensitive to movements and sounds that suddenly come out
  • Do not feed to komodo dragons
  • Don't play with the objects you bring because they will be mistaken for prey by the Komodo dragon
  • Especially for women who are menstruating, it is forbidden to enter because Komodo dragons are sensitive to the smell of blood

You do have to obey such rules because Komodo dragons are wild animals that live freely in their habitat. In essence, you must follow all the directions of the ranger during your adventure so that you can be safe when you see indonesia's proud ancient animals firsthand.

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