Northern tip of the island
|Location||South East Asia|
|Archipelago||Lesser Sunda Islands|
|Area||390 km2 (150 sq mi)|
|Province||East Nusa Tenggara|
|Ethnic groups||Bugis, others|
Komodo is part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands and forms part of the Komodo National Park. In addition, the island is a popular destination for diving. Administratively, it is part of the East Nusa Tenggara province.
The Dutch sailors reported that the creature measured up to seven metres (twenty-three feet) in length with a large body and mouth which constantly spat fire. Hearing the reports, Lieutenant Steyn van Hensbroek, an official of the Dutch Colonial Administration in Flores, planned a trip to Komodo Island. He armed himself, and accompanied by a team of soldiers he landed on the island. After a few days, Hensbroek managed to kill one of the lizards.
Van Hensbroek took the dragon to headquarters where measurements were taken. It was approximately 2.1 metres (6.9 feet) long, with a shape very similar to that of a lizard. More samples were then photographed by Peter A. Ouwens, the Director of the Zoological Museum and Botanical Gardens in Bogor, Java. The records that Ouwens made are the first reliable documentation of details about what is now called the Komodo dragon (or Komodo monitor).
Ouwens was keen to obtain additional samples. He recruited hunters who killed two dragons measuring 3.1 metres and 3.35 metres as well as capturing two pups, each measuring less than one metre. Ouwens carried out studies on the samples and concluded that the komodo dragon was not a flame-thrower but was a type of monitor lizard. Research results were published in 1912. Ouwens named the giant lizard Varanus komodoensis. Realizing the significance of the dragons on Komodo Island as an endangered species, the Dutch government issued a regulation on the protection of the lizards on Komodo Island in 1915.
The komodo dragon became something of a living legend. In the decades since the komodo was discovered, various scientific expeditions from a range of countries have carried out field research on the dragons on Komodo Island.
Komodo has been included into the controversial New7Wonders of Nature list since November 11, 2011.
The island is famous not only for its heritage of convicts but also for the unique fauna which roam it. The Komodo dragon, the world's largest living lizard, takes its name from the island. A type of monitor lizard, it inhabits Komodo Island and some of the smaller surrounding islands, as well as part of western Flores. Javan deer also inhabit the island, though they are not native. Other fauna include buffalo, civets, cockatoo and macaques.
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