The Jakarta Post
Komodo dragons at rest on Rinca Island in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has expressed his opposition to the East Nusa Tenggara administration’s plan to temporarily close Komodo National Park to boost the population of the vulnerable giant lizard species, calling it "irrelevant".
“Closing Komodo National Park is irrelevant,” Arief said on Tuesday at the Soesilo Soedarman hall of the Sapta Pesona building in Central Jakarta, as quoted by tempo.co.
Arief said that the planned closure would cause trouble for travel agencies, stressing that securing travel packages to the park was more important.
He added that his opinion was in line with that of Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who he claimed had also referred to the planned closure as "irrelevant".
East Nusa Tenggara Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat recently announced a plan to close the popular Komodo National Park for a year, to increase the population of Komodo dragons and deer, the lizards' natural prey animal. Viktor said the measure was necessary to protect the habitat of the vulnerable species.
According to Arief, the Environment and Forestry Ministry would be holding a meeting to discuss "the Komodo National Park polemic".
“There is already an invitation [to the meeting] from the Environment and Forestry Ministry,” he said. (mut)