Komodo National Park in West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara, welcomed Komodo dragon hatchlings between February and April, when the hatching season of the world’s largest lizard occurs.
The park management said it observed the eggs of seven Komodo dragons hatch at four active nests spread across Loh Buaya, the reptiles' main habitat on Rinca Island.
"We cannot identify the exact number of the newly born Komodo dragons as we do not monitor all of the active nests," park management head Lukita Awang Nisyantara said on Tuesday.
He said there were at least 49 such nests from the total 74 nests on the island.
East Nusa Tenggara authorities closed down Komodo National Park in March because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The park management stated in a circular issued on March 18 that the park would remain closed until May 19.
"The restriction is to protect our employees and people living inside the Komodo National Park area from the virus," Lukita said, adding that the closure would also give the natural environment at the park time to recover from the effects of tourism.
West Manggarai Tourism Agency data show that 184,206 people visited the park in 2019, a significant increase from 163,807 visitors in the previous year. Most of them hailed from Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Australia, among other countries.
The coronavirus outbreak, however, has since hit the tourism sector hard with tourists canceling their trips to major destinations, including Komodo National Park. (vny)