Amid Tourism Push, Concern Grows Over Indonesia's Komodo Dragons

Indonesia, the only country with Komodo dragons in the wild, wants to double the number of tourists at a national park where many of the animals live. Conservationists warn against too many tourists.
An estimated 5,500 Komodo dragons live in Komodo National Park. Source: Michael Sullivan for NPR

How's this for adventure tourism? A close encounter with a 10-foot long lizard with razor-sharp teeth and a venomous bite from a mouth swimming in noxious bacteria.

It can be yours in Komodo National Park in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province, about an hour's flight east of Bali. It's one of the areas the central government has targeted in its plan to create "10 new Balis" in order to meet its goal of 20 million tourist arrivals to Indonesia this year — 5 million more than last year.

But local officials and conservationists warn that Bali, which alone saw 5 million tourists last year — about a third of Indonesia's total — may not be

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