The Jakarta Post
As Komodo Island will be closed to the public as of January 2020, the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) administration in cooperation with Nusa Cendana University (Undana) in Kupang will conduct research on the habitat of Komodo dragons in the Komodo National Park, West Manggarai.
"Our cooperation with Undana's research team will be an important part of the NTT administration's efforts to preserve the animals," the administration's secretary, Benediktus Polo Maing, said in Kupang on Wednesday as quoted by Antara.
Benediktus said his office had met with representatives of relevant agencies, including Undana's research team.
The NTT administration announced the closure plan in March, saying Komodo Island would be closed to tourists but not for research. The closure was triggered by an attempt to smuggle 41 Komodo dragons out of the country, allegedly to be sold abroad for Rp 500 million (US$35,127) each.
Benediktus said a comprehensive study on Komodo dragons was necessary to preserve the animals and the park, which was declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Undana deputy rector I Wayan Mudita said the university had organized a team to conduct the research.
"We support the administration's plan to close Komodo Island and we are ready to support the administration in creating new policies," he said. (ars)