The Jakarta Post
Local authorities have recaptured a Komodo dragon after a video depicting a local resident capturing and keeping the animal went viral on social media.
The Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) at the Komodo National Park and the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s law enforcement department Section III covering Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara dispatched a team on Sunday to Bari village, West Manggarai, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, where a local resident kept a Komodo dragon that he had captured allegedly fearing that it might attack residents.
Komodo dragons are listed as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of threatened species.
Komodo National Park spokesperson Margaretha Priska said the team had identified the captured lizard as a female Komodo dragon. The 234-centimeter-long Komodo was alive when the team came but it was tied up. The team also found bruises on the lizard’s body.
After recapturing the Komodo, the team released it into the wild in Watu Bari on Monday, witnessed by local officials and residents.
Margaretha said most residents living in northern and southern parts of Flores island were not aware that Komodo dragons could also be found throughout inland Flores.
“They thought that Komodo dragons only inhabit the national park [and mistook those found outside the park as regular lizards],” she said, pointing out that changing the residents’ mind-set would be necessary for conservation efforts.
Komodo dragons naturally inhabit inland Flores, including Wae Wul, Tanjung Karita Mese, Longos island and Ontoloe island. (swd)