This photo of an endangered Komodo dragon apparently in a stand-off with builders that are turning the Indonesian conservation park where it lives into a ‘Jurassic Park’ style tourist attraction has sparked an angry response.
The ongoing works are part of the Indonesian government’s plans to overhaul tourism at the Komodo National Park in the country’s Lesser Sunda Islands and after the pic went viral officials have now banned anyone else from taking pictures in the area.
The park was established in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), categorised as ‘vulnerable’ by the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
However, officials unveiled plans to transform the conservation park into a ‘Jurassic Park’-style attraction in October last year despite opposition from animal rights groups that the project could harm the large lizard’s habitat.
The photo of a Komodo dragon apparently in a stand-off with a lorry has been widely shared on social media, prompting officials to close one section of the park.
The Loh Buaya resort on Rinca Island is due to remain closed until 30th June next year.
It is unclear who took the viral image, however, it prompted a petition which has quickly amassed nearly 350,000 signatures.
In response, the Kawan Baik Komodo group, which supports the Komodo National Park, said that taking photos at the construction site is now banned.
A group spokesperson said: “You may not get any more photo updates because the good friends of the Komodo in the field are scared of being criminalised.”
The Komodo National Park covers a total area of 1,800 square kilometres and was initially intended to conserve the vulnerable Komodo dragon.
However, the government has plans to turn it into a key tourist attraction to boost its coffers.
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