Well of course it is not the dragon that can spit fire or even fly as known through many fairy tales. It is only a giant lizard that can grow to more than 2 meters long from its head to the tip of its tail. People believe that the creature is a living dinosaur, because of its appearance. The unique creature is known as the Komodo Dragon (varanus komodoensis), an endangered species which can only be found in the Komodo National Park, which is located in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.
The National Park consists of three main islands namely Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as many small islands and islets around those three islands. Last November, I got the opportunity to visit Komodo Island, one of the main islands in the National Park.
Komodo Island is located between Sumbawa and Flores. Travelers usually use Labuan Bajo in Flores as their base, if they want to visit Komodo Island. For them, who have more adventurous spirit; they can try to live on board while visiting Komodo Island.
When I visited the island, I found that Komodo Island was quite dry. Almost every plant has yellowish color of dry leaves. It was a perfect setting for an island that is inhabited by dragons. The beaches, however, are beautiful. The sands are white and the water is crystal clear.
On my hike on the island, I was accompanied by ranger who brought a long stick that can be used to prevent a dragon attacking travelers. Usually, a ranger will accompany up to five visitors. They who want to see the komodo dragons can choose a short, medium, or long track through the forest and savannah on the island. But since the dragons live in the wild, it is not guaranteed that travelers can always found ones. At that time I chose the short track, and fortunately not long since I started my track, a komodo dragon came out from the bushes and crossed my path. It was around 2 meters long. Wow, it was amazing to see the wild creatures up close in their natural habitat.
According to the ranger, even though the creature has a threatening appearance, they are not active hunters. They usually stalk their victims, usually wild boars, deer, or also monkeys, that can be easily found on the island. The komodo dragon will bite it, and then release the injured victim. Then the dragon will follow its victim patiently and let it dying, sometimes up to several days. If the victim has already very weak, komodo dragon will devour it whole, includes its bones and fur.
A few years ago, I have seen a tv-documentary about these Komodo-dragons – quite impressive animals; your pictures of them and the landscape are amazingly beautiful.