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Komodo (island)

Coordinates: 8°33′S 119°27′E / 8.55°S 119.45°E / -8.55; 119.45
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North-eastern tip of the island
LocationSoutheast Asia
Coordinates8°33′S 119°27′E / 8.55°S 119.45°E / -8.55; 119.45
ArchipelagoLesser Sunda Islands
Area390 km2 (150 sq mi)
ProvinceEast Nusa Tenggara
Populationc. 2000
Ethnic groupsBugis, others

Komodo (Indonesian: Pulau Komodo) is one of the 17,508 islands that comprise the Republic of Indonesia. It is particularly notable as the habitat of the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard on Earth, which is named after the island. Komodo Island has a surface area of 291 square kilometres, and had a human population of about 1,800 in 2020.

Komodo is part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands and forms part of the Komodo National Park. It is a popular destination for diving. Administratively, it is part of the Komodo District (which also includes Rinca Island and numerous other islands off the west coast of Flores, together with part of the western portion of Flores itself), forming part of West Manggarai Regency within the province of East Nusa Tenggara.


Komodo is part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands and forms part of the Komodo National Park. It lies between the substantially larger neighbouring islands Sumbawa to the west and Flores to the east. The island's surface area covers 291 square kilometres. Komodo Island is home to the Komodo Dragon, the largest lizard on earth.


The earliest stories (among Westerners) of a dragon-like animal existing in the region circulated widely and attracted considerable attention. But no Westerner visited the island to check the story until official interest was sparked in the early 1910s by stories from Dutch sailors based in Flores in East Nusa Tenggara about a mysterious creature. The creature was allegedly a dragon which inhabited a small island in the Lesser Sunda Islands (the main island of which is Flores).

Vegetation on Komodo Island

Hearing the reports, Lieutenant Steyn van Hensbroek, an official of the Dutch Colonial Administration in Flores, planned a trip to Komodo Island to continue the search. He armed himself, and accompanied by a team of soldiers, landed on the island. After a few days, Hensbroek managed to kill one of the lizards to investigate.

Realising 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.

In the decades since the Komodo became known to non-locals, various scientific expeditions from a range of countries have carried out field research on the dragons on Komodo Island.[1]


Komodo had a population of about 1,800 at the 2020 census, spread out over the island and in the main Komodo village. The native population, the Komodo people, has been extinct since the 1980s.[2] The island's present-day residents are descendants of former convicts who were exiled to Komodo and who have mixed with Bugis from Sulawesi. The population is primarily adherents of Islam but there are also Christian and Hindu congregations.


Komodo is part of the Lesser Sundas deciduous forests ecoregion. The island is also a popular destination for diving and it has been included into the controversial New 7 Wonders of Nature list since November 11, 2011.


Komodo dragon

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 animals include water buffalo, banded pigs, civets, cockatoos and macaques.

Pink beach[edit]

Pink beach

Komodo contains a beach with "pink" sand, one of only seven in the world. The sand appears pink because it is a mixture of white sand and red sand, formed from pieces of Foraminifera.

2020 closure[edit]

In April 2019, Indonesian authorities announced a plan to close Komodo Island to tourism for a limited period to allow for conservation efforts amid concerns over animal-smuggling.[3] In July 2019, it was confirmed that the island would be closed from the beginning of 2020. In September 2019, the park attracted further controversy when tourists complained that their guides were encouraging them to take selfies with Komodo dragons. The Governor of Nusa Tenggara Timur province, Viktor Laiskodat, said that a budget of Rp 100 billion (around $US 7.2 million) would be provided to support the conservation program.[4] The plan is controversial: Governor Laiskodat has suggested that an expensive entrance fee be charged to foreign tourists while local villagers who live on Komodo Island are worried about the possible loss of income.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sejarah Pulau Komodo". indonesiaindonesia.com.
  2. ^ Penduduk Hidup Bersama Komodo
  3. ^ "Komodo considers tourist ban to help boost dragon numbers". The Guardian. 4 April 2019.
  4. ^ 'Komodo Island to be closed in 2020: Agency', The Jakarta Post, 18 July 2019.
  5. ^ Rebecca Henscheke and Callistasia Wijaya, 'The fight for Dragon Island', BBC World, 25 July 2019.