Indonesian activists slam ‘Jurassic Park’ plan for Komodo dragon island

Komodo dragon, photo: David Clode on Unsplash
Komodo dragon, photo: David Clode on Unsplash

Indonesian conservationists have slammed plans to turn the home of endangered Komodo dragons into a Jurassic Park-style attraction.

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 meters (10 feet) in length and weigh up to 90 kilograms (200 pounds).

Last month, authorities unveiled a proposal to build a tourist park on one of the islands, dubbed Jurassic Park after architects published a promotional video of the project set to music from the film franchise.

Conservationists have long feared that mass tourism, trafficking and a lack of natural prey threaten the survival of Komodo dragons.

This week a picture of a Komodo dragon in front of a truck carrying construction supplies renewed debate over the project.

“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.

The government said the truck in the now-viral photo wasn’t linked to the controversial development, which has been put on ice until mid-2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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”.


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