Indonesia is a tourist paradise and many people flock to Komodo Island to see the green lizards from close quarters. However, smugglers are active in the region and the police have uncovered one such ring that sold the Komodo dragons at exorbitant prices. It seems the smugglers sell exotic and rare animals like bearcats, cockatoos, and cassowaries as well. The authorities arrested some members of the gangs from Java Island on March 27.

The government has announced the closure of the premises to tourists for one year. The intention is to strengthen their conservation efforts and preserve the natural habitat of the surroundings during this period.

The Daily Mail UK reported about Indonesia. The site states that Indonesia has dense tropical rainforests endowed with high levels of biodiversity and has turned into a haven for those who engage in animal trafficking.

The dragons are unique to the region and an official from the police has revealed that these lizards fetch high prices in the international market, hence are lucrative.

Other animals also in danger

Apart from the smuggling of Komodo dragons, the police have arrested others in East Java who sold animals online like otters, leopard cats, and pangolin. To make matters worse, there were gangs in the province of Papua who were after an Endangered Species of pig-nosed turtles.

If their crimes are proven and they are convicted, they would have to either face prison sentences or pay heavy fines. Indonesia is home to a wide variety of wildlife, but the illegal trade and loss of habitat have taken a heavy toll on animals like elephants.

The Daily Mail UK added that the dragons are now on the list of endangered species and the authorities must take steps to preserve all such species because they help maintain the ecological balance. Puerto Rico lost its parrots that were on the list of endangered species during Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Komodo Island off limits for tourists in 2020

According to CNN, those who love wildlife and plan to Travel to Komodo Island to watch the Komodo lizards in their natural surroundings will have to do so only after 2020. Indonesia will be closing the popular tourist destination for one year, starting in January 2020. These reptiles can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh as much as 70 kilos. UNESCO figures estimate the number of these lizards at more than 5,000.

Komodo Island is a part of the UNESCO-listed Komodo National Park and welcomes more than 10,000 visitors every month. Its popularity has increased over the years because of new flights and hotels that have been built in the region.

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