EXPLORE KOMODO ISLAND
Komodo Island is one of the most unique islands in the world, and for good reason – it boasts a diverse array of plant and animal life, and remains the only place in the world where the world’s largest lizard, the Komodo Dragon, can still be found in the wild. The Komodo National Park is a national park in Indonesia located within the Lesser Sunda Islands in the border region between the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara. The park includes the three larger islands – Komodo, Padar and Rinca – and 26 smaller ones, with a total area of 1,733 km² (603 km² of it land). The national park was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest lizard. Later, it was dedicated to protecting other species, including marine species. In 1991, the national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Komodo National Park was established in 1980 and was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1991. The park was initially established to conserve the unique Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis), first discovered by the scientific world in 1912 by J.K.H. Van Steyn. Since then conservation goals have expanded to protecting its entire biodiversity, both marine and terrestrial.
The majority of the people in and around the Park are fishermen originally from Bima (Sumbawa), Manggarai, South Flores, and South Sulawesi. Those from South Sulawesi are from the Suku Bajau or Bugis ethnic groups. The Suku Bajau were originally nomadic, and moved from location to location across the regions of Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara and Maluku, to make their livelihoods. Descendants of the original people of Komodo, the Ata Modo, still live in Komodo, but there are no pure-blooded people left and their culture and language is slowly being integrated with the more recent migrants.
Little is known about the early history of the Komodo islanders. They were subjects of the Sultanate of Bima, although the island’s remoteness from Bima meant its affairs were probably independent from the Sultanate, other than the occasional demand for tribute.