The image was shared on Instagram by the initiative Save Komodo Now. The activists, writing that this is the first time the reptiles are hearing the roar of engines and the smell of exhaust fumes, questioned if anyone cares about conservation anymore
Indonesia sought to downplay fears about the environmental impact of a multimillion dollar island tourism project dubbed ‘Jurassic Park’ after an image of a Komodo dragon facing a construction truck went viral on social media.
According to a BBC report, the development is a part of the government’s plan to overhaul tourism in the Komodo National Park. The image sparked protests around the world about possible impact it could have on the conservation of the world’s largest lizards.
However, officials have said no dragons were harmed and their safety is of the utmost importance, as per BBC.
The image was shared on Instagram by the initiative Save Komodo Now. The activists, writing that this is the first time the reptiles are hearing the roar of engines and the smell of exhaust fumes, questioned if anyone cares about conservation anymore.
While initially there were plans to close Komo Island and expel the 2,000 inhabitants who live alongside the reptiles for generations, that was dropped last year.
Authorities instead said that they would move away from mass tourism in a bid to protect the dragons and their habitat and introduce a $1,000 membership scheme to visit the island.
However, at the same time, they unveiled plans for a mass tourist development at the neighbouring Rinca Island, which has the second-largest populations of the reptiles.
Wiratno, a senior environment ministry official, said that rangers would ensure the safety of the dragons roaming near the construction site.
He added that they will make extensive checks of whether there are any komodo dragons at the site.
Komodo dragons can reach up to 10 feet in length and take down prey as big as a water buffalo with their venomous bites.
Meanwhile, according to The Jakarta Post, the East Nusa Tenggara administration has denied that the movie ‘Jurassic Park’ inspired the project.
NTT administration spokesperson Marius Kelamu, the concept is based on ecotourism and not a fictional dinosaur park.
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.
“We will see more of this kind of incident, which plainly displays the destructive dimensions of governance that only thinks about the economic [benefits] of Komodo National Park,” Aloysius told the newspaper.
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