This week we’re profiling each of the other six New7Wonders of Nature sites. Table Mountain will be officially inaugurated this Sunday, and so in the run up to the event, we’re finding out a bit more about the esteemed company Table Mountain is keeping!
Giant, venomous lizards roaming a tropical volcanic island? It might sound like something out of a fantasy novel, but this is exactly what you’ll find at the Komodo National Park in Indonesia.
A chain of small islands formed by volcanic activity run along the Java Sea in South East Asia. Komodo Island is about 390 square kilometres, and is home to its namesake, the Komodo dragon – the largest lizards in the world.
With no other carnivorous animals around, Komodo dragons can grow to be three metres in length and weigh as much as 70 kg. They have a long, yellow forked tongue, razor-sharp teeth and can deliver an extremely poisonous bite.
As carnivores, Komodo dragons use their highly developed sense of smell to locate food, and have been known to hunt live deer and other wildlife. Sadly, due to poaching and habitat destruction, these lizard kings are now a threatened species. There are only about 5 000 Komodo dragons left in the wild.
The Komodo National Park initially set out to protect the remaining population of Komodo dragons, but has since expanded its mandate into marine conservation too. The island is a popular diving destination, and is also home to a pink beach – one of only seven beaches in the world with pink-tinged sea sand.
Founder-President of New7Wonders Bernard Weber said: “The success of Komodo Island, the home of the Komodo dragon, is an inspiring example of what can be done to safeguard terrestrial and marine life forms that are extremely vulnerable to changes in climate and the impact of human development.”
“By voting for it in such large numbers, the supporters of Komodo Island everywhere have expressed pride in their natural heritage, which is part of the great mosaic that is the world.”
The New7Wonders organisation will work with the Indonesian authorities and Komodo supporters to evolve a sustainable development strategy that balances the needs of the Komodo habitat and its people with the vital task of defending the park’s ecological integrity. The concept of sustainable tourism is an important one at this site, so that future generations can enjoy visits to this exceptional wonder of nature.
Komodo was the last to be officially inaugurated as a New7Wonder of Nature in 2013, following Table Mountain’s celebrations.
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