Komodo National Park is a combination terrestrial and marine wildlife sanctuary devoted primarily to the preservation of its namesake resident: the Komodo Dragon. Made up of nearly thirty islands in the Lessa Sundra chain, Komodo National Park is one of the most important wildlife reserves in Oceania. A major ecotourism destination, Komodo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also the only wildlife destination to be included on the list of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
The Lesser Sundra Islands were inhabited for millennia before western explorers showed up and ‘discovered’ the Komodo Dragons in the early 20th century. The area remained relatively pristine throughout the colonial era, though encroaching became more pronounced in the post-war years. In 1980 Komodo National Park was established to protect wildlife on both the islands and in adjacent marine areas. It was declared a biosphere reserve and world heritage site in 1991. In 2011 it was selected as one of seven wonders of nature by a worldwide vote.
Komodo is a highly diverse area, with hundreds of rare and amazing species. The islands are home to around five thousand Komodo Dragons, the world’s largest reptile, as well countless other reptile, mammal and bird species. Also popular are the herds of Water Buffalo and Javan Deer. Marine species include the Whale Shark and Manta Ray.
Komodo National Park sprawls over twenty-nine islands approximately 200 miles west of Java in the Lesser Sundra chain. The main islands are Komodo and Rintja, and the closest major town is Roeteng, seventy miles to the east on the island of East Nusa Tenggara. A few settlements within Komodo provide access and accommodations. Although most visitors come to see the Dragons, the most popular activity is diving to see the marine life. As of this writing no other visitor information was available. Web: www.indonesia.travel/en/destination/106/komodo-national-park (official website).