Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘komodo dragons’ Category

This article is written by Matthew Allard, Aljazeera TV’s cameraman who visited Komodo National Park a few weeks ago. The article was published in Aljazeera.net’s blog.

Text and Photos by Matthew Allard

For millions of years, the Komodo dragon has lived in the Lesser Sunda islands in Indonesia, but they were only discovered by humans in the last 100 years.

For millions of years, the Komodo dragon has lived in the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia. They were only discovered by humans in the last 100 years.

The Komodo dragon is on the endangered species list and although their numbers have increased in recent years, they still only number around 4,000.

They can weigh up to 150kg and grow to more than three metres in length. And Komodos eat almost anything – deer, pigs, smaller dragons, even large water buffalo and humans.

They lay in wait and surprise theeir pray. With shark-like serrated teeth, they bite there prey, but that’s not what kills them. Dragon saliva teems with over 50 strains of bacteria, and within 24 hours, its prey usually dies of blood poisoning.

I recently got the chance, along with Al Jazeera’s Indonesia correspondent Step Vaessen, to go and film these incredible animals, which are probably our closest link to the dinosaurs. To get there you need to fly from Bali to the island of Flores, and from there it is about a two-hour boat ride to Komodo Island.

The islands they inhabit are surrounded by crystal-clear water and provide some of the best diving spots in Asia. The landscape of the terrain ranges from lush green grass to African savannah.

It is a harsh and unforgiving place, but somehow these majestic creatures have managed to survive. The dearth of egg-laying females, poaching, human encroachment, and natural disasters have, though, driven the species onto the endangered species list.

First contact

In recent times, there has been an increase in cases of Komodos attacking humans.

With a decrease in food, they have moved into closer contact with people. In the only small fishing village on the island, a young boy was recently attacked and killed. But as the Komodo is now a protected species, it is against the law for people to attack them.

Coming into contact with a Komodo for the first time, you feel like you have stepped onto the set of Jurassic Park. They are an intimidating creature and are on the top of the food chain in the habitat they live in. Park rangers carry long wooden sticks that have a Y-shaped fork on the end. While I never felt threatened filming the dragons, I always had multiple rangers standing close by.

It is hard not to remain extremely cautious when shooting them. They look slow but can run in short bursts of up to 30kph. One dragon in particular seemed to take great interest in the camera and, as I was filming, it came within a few feet. Our ranger was noticeably nervous. To watch this incredible creature in its own environment was a real pleasure. It is the closest I will ever get to seeing a real-life dinosaur.

Indonesia wants to increase tourism to these islands but it is a fine balance between protecting the creatures and providing security and peace of mind for visitors. Let’s hope that these incredible creatures remain on our planet and don’t end up extinct, like so many other animals have.

Read Full Post »

Artikel ini ditulis oleh Nila Tanzil dan dimuat di koran Seputar Indonesia, Sabtu, 13 Maret 2010.

MELEWATKAN liburan di Taman nasional Komodo, sungguh menjadi sebuah pengalaman yang luar biasa. Gugusan pula indah, terumbu karang yang alami, dan reptil yang berseliweran sungguh begitu indah dipandang.

Air laut nan bening menghampar di depan mata. Riak-riak kecil yang membentuk garis pantai seolah mengajak kita untuk merasakan kesegaran airnya.Terumbu karang yang indah memesona dengan berbagai warna ikan hias yang hidup di dalamnya.Tak jauh dari bibir pantai beberapa komodo tampak hilir mudik. Sungguh pemandangan yang sayang bila dilewatkan. Ya, pemandangan ini memang hanya bisa disaksikan di Taman Nasional Komodo, Flores, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia. Sejak 1991, Taman Nasional Komodo dinobatkan sebagai The World Heritage Site oleh UNESCO.

Barubaru ini,Taman Nasional Komodo juga terpilih sebagai salah satu finalis dalam ajang kompetisi dunia the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Taman Nasional Komodo bersaing ketat dengan ke-27 finalis dari negara-negara lainnya.

Surga bagi Para Penyelam

Bagi para penyelam, Taman Nasional Komodo adalah surga. Di sini para penyelam dapat menyelam dengan jarak pandang lebih dari 30 meter. Mereka juga akan merasakan sensasi dikelilingi seribu jenis ikan, 385 jenis terumbu karang yang berwarna-warni, penyu, ikan duyung, berbagai jenis hiu dan pari, termasuk ikan pari manta yang besarnya mencapai empat meter. Tak heran jika para penyelam dari berbagai pelosok dunia rela menyeberangi benua hanya untuk menyelam di Pulau Komodo dan sekitarnya ini.

Selain reputasi keindahan bawah lautnya yang telah diakui di mancanegara, kondisi daratan Taman Nasional Komodo ini pun tidak kalah uniknya. Di sinilah satu-satunya habitat di dunia tempat binatang komodo hidup dengan bebas. Komodo ini dapat ditemui di empat pulau di kawasan Taman Nasional Komodo, yaitu Pulau Komodo, Pulau Rinca, Pulau Gili Mota,dan Nusa Kode. Binatang yang konon telah hidup sejak jaman es (ice age) ini mampu bertahan hidup di keempat pulau tersebut karena minimnya kontak terhadap manusia. Sebagian besar dari keempat pulau tersebut masih alami dan belum terlalu terkontaminasi oleh campur tangan manusia. Menurut penelitian, komodo sebelumnya juga hidup di daratan Flores.

Namun sejak manusia datang dan mendominasi daratan Flores, populasi komodo pun menurun drastis. Itulah sebabnya komodo yang hidup di keempat pulau ini harus dijaga populasinya agar tidak punah.Saat ini tercatat sekitar 2.500 komodo yang hidup di dalam Taman Nasional Komodo. Jika berlibur di sini, Anda dapat menyewa perahu nelayan untuk mengunjungi Loh Liang (Pulau Komodo) dan Loh Buaya (Pulau Rinca) untuk melakukan tracking. Kedua area konsesi ini dikelola PT Putri Naga Komodo, di mana perusahaan ini membangun infrastruktur yang nyaman bagi para turis yang berkunjung ke lokasi untuk melihat komodo.

Selain itu,perusahaan ini juga menyediakan jasa naturalist guide. Jadi,setiap wisatawan yang datang ke area konsesi akan ditemani guide tersebut.Dengan fasih,mereka akan bercerita tentang perilaku komodo serta siap menjaga keamanan wisatawan dari hewan yang hampir punah ini.Para guide ini membawa tongkat panjang yang bercabang dua di ujungnya. Tongkat ini konon berguna untuk menghalau komodo yang berusaha mendekati turis.(*)

Read Full Post »

Artikel ini ditulis oleh Nila Tanzil dan dimuat di koran Seputar Indonesia, Sabtu, 12 Maret 2010.

TRACKING di Pulau Komodo ternyata sungguh menarik.Dari Loh Liang (Pulau Komodo),dengan berjalan selama 1,5 hingga 2 jam,saya dapat sampai di salah satu puncak bukit dan menikmati pemandangan alam yang luar biasa indahnya.

Meskipun lelah karena perjalanan yang cukup mendaki dan matahari yang terik menyengat kulit,namun saya sangat puas ketika sampai di puncak bukit. Pemandangan berbagai gugusan pulau dikelilingi oleh air laut yang biru nan memesona berada tepat di depan saya.Wow,simply amazing! “Indonesia memang sangat indah”,ujar saya di dalam hati. Sepanjang perjalanan tracking, rusa-rusa Timor berkeliaran di mana-mana. Mata mereka yang cantik dan tanduknya yang bercabang tinggi,membuat rusarusa Timor itu tampak anggun dan elegan.

Di LohBuaya (PulauRinca), selain komodo, saya menyaksikan beberapa kerbau yang sedang berkubang, sarang komodo betina menyimpan telur-telur mereka,babi hutan serta monyet yang berkeliaran. Sungguh tempat berlibur yang cocok bagi para pencinta alam. Keindahan PulauRinca dengan hamparan savananya yang luas akan mampu menghipnotis saya dan membuat saya berpikir seperti berada di padang gurun yang luas.Wah pengalaman yang tak terlupakan. Ketika hari menjelang petang, saya menyempatkan diri berkunjung ke Kalong Rinca untuk menyaksikan ribuan kelelawar yang bermigrasi dari Pulau Kalong Rinca ke daratan Flores dengan dihiasi latar belakang langit berwarna oranye dan matahari yang mengintip dari permukaan laut, siap untuk tenggelam.

Benar-benar pemandangan yang menakjubkan. Nah, jika Anda mengidamidamkan liburan di pantai yang tak berpenghuni,sepi,dan indah, di sinilah tempat yang ideal.Ada banyak sekali pantai indah tak berpenghuni yang dapat Anda kunjungi. Di antaranya yang terkenal adalah Pink Beach. Mengapa disebut demikian?Karena memang pasir di pantai ini berwarna… pink! Very cute! Pink Beach ini juga terkenal sebagai salah satu spot terbaik untuk snorkeling.Wisatawan dapat dengan puas menikmati hamparan terumbu karang nan indah dengan berbagai jenis ikan yang hidup di sekelilingnya.

Air yang jernih bak kristal juga akan menyempurnakan pengalaman snorkeling semua wisatawan yang berkunjung ke pantai yang spesial ini. Selain snorkeling, berenang, dan menyelam, kegiatan olahraga air yang juga dapat dilakukan di sekitar Taman Nasional Komodo adalah kayaking.Wisatawan dapat menyewa perahu kayak di kota Labuan Bajo dan mengayuhnya menuju Pulau Bidadari yang memiliki pantai berpasir putih nan indah. Selain Pulau Bidadari,beberapa pulau lain yang dapat ditempuh dengan kayak antara lain Pulau Sabolo dan Pulau Monyet, dengan jarak sekitar 30 menit dari kota Labuan Bajo.

Jika melalui jalur laut,Anda dapat naik kapal feri dari Tanjung Benoa, Bali. Selamat berlibur dan menikmati keindahan Pulau Komodo dan sekitarnya! Saya jamin liburan Anda kali ini pasti tak terlupakan! (*)

Read Full Post »

The article is quoted from “The Telegraph” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk). Text by Gavin Bell.

photo as appeared in the same article in "The Telegraph"'s online web

When I was a boy, I saw dragons. They didn’t actually fly or breathe fire, but in every other respect they were the stuff of legends, with razor-sharp claws, fearsome teeth and fiery tongues. What’s more, they lived in an exotic, far-off land – and they ate people.

I was nine years old when I sat enthralled by black-and-white images of these monstrous creatures, brought to television screens in the 1950s by a young David Attenborough in Zoo Quest for a Dragon. It was as if he had travelled through time and space to a distant planet. He might well have done, because the lairs of the Komodo dragons of eastern Indonesia are as remote and hard to reach as they were half a century ago. First you fly to Bali, then catch a local flight over the islands of Lombok and Sumbawa to a ramshackle fishing village on the western tip of Flores that could be from a Somerset Maugham novel.

There you can charter an old wooden boat for a trip of anything from three to six hours to the parched islands frazzled by the sun that are home to the gargantuan man-eating reptiles known locally as ora. The bad news is that many of the vessels for hire are barely seaworthy, few if any have lifejackets, and the Sape Strait in which the islands lie is notorious for fierce rip tides and whirlpools. The good news is, there is an alternative.

Cruising the Java Sea is a dreamboat called Silolona, an authentic replica of gaff-rigged schooners that plied the Spice Islands trade long before Europeans turned up in the 16th century. Laden with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, the high-prowed vessels called phinisi followed the trade winds from the Moluccas to Madagascar and the African coast, returning with cargoes of iron, ivory and slaves.

On Silolona, spices are confined to the Asian fusion cuisine. Hand-built by traditional boat-builders in a mangrove swamp in southern Sulawesi and launched in 2004, she carries up to 10 guests in considerable style and luxury, in staterooms worthy of a five-star hotel. One of her current itineraries, I was delighted to discover, is to the land of the Komodo dragons.

Still, it’s a long way to go, and it makes sense to break the journey in Bali, at somewhere like Kayumanis Private Estates’ signature establishment in a coconut grove a short drive from the airport. There is no communal swimming pool because each of the private villas has its own, along with bath and shower al fresco in fragrant gardens and masseuses on call to ease the aches and pains of long-haul travel. The Zen-like calm is the perfect cure for jet lag.

Thus refreshed, I enjoy the onward flight over cloud-piercing volcanoes to Lubuan Bajo on Flores. From the air, the twin masts of Silolona are visible above a flotilla of outrigger fishing boats in a bay framed by low hills. On closer inspection she looks like a pantomime pirate ship, a floating stage set for Peter Pan. But this is a sturdy, ocean-going vessel built to German Lloyd specifications.

Constructed of ironwood, and trimmed in teak and a gleaming red-hued wood called lengua, she is superb testimony to traditional boat-building skills and arguably among the most handsome oriental sailing ships afloat.

An old salt once declared that a sailing ship is the closest thing to dreams made by the hands of man. In this case, it was dreamed up by Patti Seery, an American architect inspired by Indonesian culture and art who had a vision of blending ancient and modern in a ship imbued with the romance of the past but equipped with a 680hp turbo-diesel engine to supplement her seven black sails.

“She is about history and traditions,” says Seery proudly. “She tells of ancient legends.” In local lore, Silolona was a woman of surpassing beauty whose husband saved the world from global warming by hurling a golden spear at the sun. His return is eagerly awaited.

Time begins to slow as we raise anchor and set sail for the Komodo archipelago, and soon it seems to be slipping backwards. The islands rising from the Flores Sea are geological dinosaurs, with ochre hills clothed in savannah and dry monsoon forests that look unchanged since the dawn of time.

Only the two largest islands have small fishing communities, which means there are dozens of deserted islets, coves and beaches offering a Robinson Crusoe experience. The crew of Silolona add useful touches like beach umbrellas and chilled champagne for temporary castaways deposited on pristine beaches for the afternoon.

The west coast of Padar is your classic desert-island idyll. Nobody lives there, and hardly anyone visits because strong currents make it hard to anchor. While Silolona cruises offshore, we explore a sweeping crescent of rose-tinted sand framed by wooded hills and dramatic sea stacks. The pink hue comes from crushed coral fragments, and the high tide line is a cornucopia of exotic shells and corals. It is absurdly picturesque, and a French woman in our party declares it the most beautiful beach she has ever seen.

That evening we decamp barefoot to a sandy cove on a nearby island for an aperitif and sushi made from jackfish freshly caught by the crew. As darkness falls and moonlight glitters on the water, the only sounds we hear are of waves lapping on the shore. And the occasional clink of a champagne glass.

Patti has another treat in store for guests unfamiliar with sailing in tropical waters: stars in the sea. The trick is to cruise around in a tender boat at night, trail a hand in the inky-black water, and watch the phosphorescence swirling from it like a galaxy of stars. The ultimate spectacle is the “mermaid effect”, caused when women swim at night and glittering lights cascade from their hair.

By day, the protected coastal waters of Komodo National Park are equally spectacular. While the islands may seem arid and lifeless during the long dry season, a few yards away lies an aquatic world teeming with exotic life.

Eastern Indonesia is renowned for world-class dive sites, and Silolona is fully equipped for divers. In these shallow waters, though, a mask and snorkel are all that are required to explore coral reefs of wondrous variety and beauty. In this silent, slow-motion realm, one becomes an aviator gliding above colonies of bizarre creatures busying themselves in the tasks of survival. Turtles swim serenely among shoals of brilliantly-hued fish posing as parrots, trumpets and angels, all unconcerned by our presence.

Occasionally, denizens of the deep appear briefly in our world. On a beach excursion, we are escorted by a school of dolphins leaping out of the water around us like smiling torpedoes. In a stretch of turbulent water, what appears to be a whirlpool materialises as a sperm whale, blowing and breaking the surface with ponderous majesty. Above us, as we approach Komodo Island, a pair of sea eagles squabble over a catch.

At the entrance to the Loh Liang ranger station on Komodo Island there should be a sign, preferably in Gothic script, warning visitors: “Here be dragons”. One might reasonably expect another declaring: “All ye who enter here, abandon hope”. Disappointingly, there isn’t. Instead, there is an information board stipulating that visitors should be accompanied by guides at all times.

Some years ago, an elderly Swiss nobleman ignored this advice and strayed from a group being escorted in the hills. All they found of Baron Rudolf von Redding at first were his camera and spectacles – and then vestiges of his hair and nails in dragon droppings.

There are an estimated 2,500 dragons on Komodo and two neighbouring islands, all of them cold-blooded predators.

Varanus komodoensis is actually a monitor lizard, the world’s biggest, growing up to 12ft long from snout to tail and weighing nearly 18 stone. It can smell blood at six miles, run at 14mph, and swallow a goat whole. They do not make good pets.

Our guide, Rinos, armed with a long wooden stick, cheerfully informs us he is not afraid of dragons, only wary. “It is quite difficult to predict their attitude,” he says. “Sometimes they look so calm, but if they smell blood they run very fast.”

With this image in mind, we set off in a remarkably compact group with Rinos leading the way. The forest of tamarind and palm trees is home to deer, wild pig and buffalo, all of which feature on the dragons’ menu du jour. We catch glimpses of deer in sun-dappled clearings and see the ominous spoor of giant claw marks in a dry river bed. In the woods of Bambi, monsters lurk.

We don’t see any, until we approach the rangers’ kitchen. At first we don’t spot the 10ft reptile sprawled in the dust, but fortunately Rinos does and brings us to a halt. Six feet away, the immobile beast is watching us with black, expressionless eyes.

It looks every bit as fearsome as its reputation. A scaly hide, ugly head raised as if to strike, long yellow tongue flicking the air: it is the embodiment of menace. We retreat to the dubious safety of a wooden staircase, just in time. Rinos prods the ground near it, and it whips around with lightning speed to confront him. He backs off slowly, and the creature resumes its watchful pose.

Next day we visit the island of Rinca, which is wilder, with resident troops of monkeys. In the park office I notice dark smears high on a wall. They are the bloodstains of a ranger who was attacked by a dragon while sitting at his desk, and who escaped by leaping on to a cupboard and out of a window.

When our guide asks us to stay together on the trail, he is scrupulously obeyed. At one point he gestures towards a network of holes in the ground, which he says is a dragon’s nest, likely to contain eggs. We are peering at the site when he points behind me and says softly: “Don’t move.” I look around, and find I am being observed at close quarters by a large dragon. I hear Attenborough’s familiar, hushed tones: “The female is at her most dangerous when guarding her young.” The guide raises his stick and instructs me to step slowly towards him. This takes an eternity, but it appeases mummy dragon, who regards my retreat balefully, without stirring.

Surprisingly, there are people living in the lands of the dragons, and remarkably few get eaten. They build fences around their villages, and chase away any dragons that approach with sticks and stones – but danger remains all around them. Last year, a farmer was attacked while picking fruit in a forest, and by the time his screams brought friends running to help, he was dead and half-eaten.

The largest village is Kampung Komodo, a fishing community that scratches a living from catching squid on moonless nights and carving wooden dragons for tourists. It is a lively, friendly jumble of wooden houses on stilts and dirt streets teeming with people – and its artisans are nothing if not inventive. I am offered a carved dragon wearing a scuba tank, which strikes me as an appalling prospect.

After the excitement of close encounters of the scary kind, it is bliss to return to the comforts of Silolona. Her magical effect is most pronounced at night, when lanterns form pinpricks of light on the dark wood, and illuminate the outlines of her high prow. Then it is as if she is a stage, awaiting the entrance of actors – cue Captain Hook chasing Peter Pan.

On the last evening of our Indonesian adventure, the crew prepares a barbecue for us on a deserted beach. Lamps of burning oil are placed in holes dug in the sand, and local fishermen join our seamen in singing and playing guitars by the light of a campfire. Chinese lanterns are lit, and they drift high into the night sky. Silolona, her lights sparkling on the dark water, looks more than ever like a ship of dreams.

This is my kind of Zoo Quest.

Read Full Post »

Hari ini saya dikagetkan oleh berita tentang seorang Naturalist Guide PNK, Marcelinus Subanghadir, yang digigit oleh komodo di Loh Buaya, Pulau Rinca.

Linus, demikian ia kerap dipanggil, adalah seorang koki di Loh Buaya. Saat itu ia sedang berada di barak, ketika tiba-tiba ia ingin pergi ke toilet. Saat ia menginjakkan kakinya di anak tangga pertama, mendadak seekor komodo meloncat dan berhasil mengigit tumit kakinya! Linus pun bergegas berusaha melepaskan kakinya dari gigitan komodo tersebut dan kembali ke barak. Ia kemudian ditolong oleh rekan-rekan kerjanya di Loh Buaya untuk diberikan pertolongan pertama.

Tim PT Putri Naga Komodo yang berada di Loh Buaya pun segera menghubungi kantor PT PNK di Labuan Bajo melalui radio mengenai hal ini. Tim evakuasi PNK langsung segera datang dan membawa Sdr Linus ke PUSKESMAS di Labuan Bajo dengan speedboat.

Linus pun segera dibawa ke Puskesmas setempat di Labuan Bajo. Ia ditangani oleh tim medis untuk membersihkan luka bekas gigitan komodo tersebut. Esok hari, Linus akan dibawa ke Bali untuk mendapatkan perawatan medis yang lebih memadai dan menjamin agar tidak terjadi infeksi pada luka di tumitnya.

Untuk mencegah supaya hal ini tidak terulang, PT PNK telah berinsiatif untuk menutup setiap anak tangga yang ada di barak Loh Buaya dan Loh Liang dengan papan, sehingga karyawan yang bekerja di kedua lokasi tersebut merasa lebih aman. Meskipun demikian, Bapak Tamen Sitorus, Kepala Balai Taman Nasional Komodo mengungkapkan kepada rekan media dan menghimbau agar siapapun yang berkunjung ke Loh Liang dan Loh Buaya untuk tetap selalu waspada dan berhati-hati.

Semoga Linus cepat sembuh ya!

Read Full Post »

Sebenarnya, wisatawan juga dapat melihat komodo di Pulau Rinca. Jadi, tidak hanya di Pulau Komodo saja. Dan, sebenarnya lagi, lebih mudah untuk melihat komodo di Pulau Rinca dibandingkan dengan di Pulau Komodo itu sendiri. Mengapa? Karena luas Pulau Rinca yang lebih kecil dari Pulau Komodo, sehingga kemungkinan untuk melihat komodo lebih besar di Loh Buaya (Pulau Rinca).

Seperti di Loh Liang (Pulau Komodo), PT PNK yang memegang hak konsesi pariwisata di Loh Buaya, juga menyediakan jasa Naturalist Guide untuk membimbing wisatawan ketika melakukan trekking. Jalur yang ditawarkan juga ada 3 jenis, yaitu jalur pendek (30 menit), jalur medium (1.5 jam) dan jalur panjang (sekitar 2.5 jam). Uniknya, di Loh Buaya ini, wisatawan dapat langsung melihat komodo tanpa harus berjalan jauh. Komodo-komodo ini sering berkeliaran tidak jauh dari lokasi dapur, kira-kira 100 meter dari lokasi pembelian tiket Taman Nasional. Disinilah jalur trekking dimulai dan biasanya Naturalist Guide sudah langsung bercerita mengenai perilaku komodo.

Sekitar 200 meter dari lokasi dapur, pada musim tertentu, wisatawan juga dapat melihat sarang telur komodo. Komodo betina biasanya membuat lubang-lubang untuk menyimpan telur-telurnya. Mereka menggali beberapa lubang, namun hanya satu lubang saja yang dipakai. Lubang yang lainnya digunakan untuk menipu binatang-binatang yang berpotensi memangsa telur-telur komodo tersebut.

Untuk jalur medium, wisatawan akan dibawa berjalan menyusuri hutan, mendaki bukit dan berjalan di savanna yang luas. Pemandangannya sangat indah disini. Kerbau-kerbau liar pun dapat ditemui di sepanjang perjalanan. Ketika saya melakukan trekking disini, saya merasa seperti berada di padang gurun yang luas & gersang, namun indah. Panas terik matahari membuat grup kami terus meneteskan keringat. Sesekali kami berhenti untuk beristirahat dan menikmati keindahan alam sekitar.

Di jalur panjang, wisatawan dapat melihat “Jurassic Park“, dimana kerangka sisa-sisa hewan buruan komodo tergeletak. Pemandangan ini benar-benar mengingatkan kita akan film “Jurassic Park” dan membuat kita merinding. Meksipun demikian, pemandangan savanna yang ditawarkan Loh Buaya sungguh luar biasa. Anda akan merasa berada di dunia lain. Komodo-komodo kecil, remaja dan dewasa pun berkeliaran disini, disamping monyet-monyet yang biasanya langsung menyambut kedatangan anda ketika anda turun dari kapal ke dermaga.

Berapa jarak yang ditempuh dari Labuan Bajo ke Loh Buaya? Dengan “slow boat”, waktu yang diperlukan hanya satu jam. Sedangkan jika anda naik speed boat, anda hanya membutuhkan waktu 30 menit untuk sampai ke Loh Buaya. Mudah bukan? Tunggu apalagi? ;)

Read Full Post »

Loh Liang, salah satu lokasi di Taman Nasional Komodo dimana wisatawan dapat melihat secara langsung binatang komodo yang hidup berkeliaran dengan bebas di habitat aslinya. Terletak di Pulau Komodo, kawasan untuk turis ini dikelola oleh PT Putri Naga Komodo (PT PNK). PT PNK inilah yang membangun infrastruktur di situs ini, mulai dari jetty (dermaga), lobby, toilet, restoran, hingga outlet suvenir. Pertama kali menginjakkan kaki di Loh Liang pada Mei 2009 ketika saya sedang trip menyelam (live aboard dive trip), saya sama sekali tidak menyangka akan disapa oleh bangunan yang modern namun terasa asri ini.

Infrastruktur yang ramah lingkungan & asri

Wisatawan akan disapa oleh Naturalist Guide yang akan memberikan briefing singkat mengenai binatang komodo yang ada di situs ini. Herman, seorang Naturalist Guide, yang menemani grup kami saat itu mengatakan bahwa ketika melakukan trekking, sebisa mungkin tidak ada yang terpisah dari grup. Selain itu, kalau ada wanita yang sedang mengalami menstruasi, diharapkan untuk melapor, sehingga Naturalist Guide dapat menjaganya dengan ketat, karena binatang komodo sangat sensitif terhadap bau darah. Sebagai penutup kata, Herman berujar, “Please don’t take anything from the wild and don’t leave anything apart from your footprints:) .

Ada 3 jalur trekking yang ditawarkan, yaitu jalur pendek (30 menit – 1 km), jalur medium (1,5 jam – 3km) dan jalur panjang (2.5 jam – 3,5 km). Jalur pendek diperuntukkan bagi wisatawan yang memiliki waktu terbatas. Wisatawan dapat berjalan ke salah satu bukit untuk melihat pemandangan pantai yang indah. Binatang komodo biasanya dapat ditemui di dekat daerah dapur.

Jalur medium memungkinkan wisatawan untuk berjalan di hutan kering dan melihat “waterhole”, dimana biasanya rusa-rusa Timor dan babi hutan berkeliaran. Untuk jalur ini, wisatawan harus mendaki bukit, terkadang di bawah sinar matahari yang terik, untuk melihat pemandangan sekeliling Pulau Komodo dari Bukit  Sulfur. Pemandangan yang sangat indah ini sayang untuk dilewatkan.

Bagi wisatawan yang gemar trekking, maka jalur panjang adalah pilihan yang tepat. Dengan memilih jalur ini, maka kemungkinan untuk melihat binatang komodo berkeliaran di alam bebas lebih besar. Jadi, pada akhirnya, pilihan berada pada wisatawan ;) .

Pemandangan dari puncak bukit

Setelah berkunjung beberapa kali ke Loh Liang, pemandangan yang paling saya sukai adalah pemandangan dari atas bukit yang kedua. Anda bisa bertanya kepada Naturalist Guide untuk diajak ke lokasi ini. Dari sini anda bisa melihat pemandangan bukit-bukit di sekitar Pulau Komodo. Indah sekali. Jetty (dermaga) terlihat kecil dari sini. Saya juga suka sekali berjalan di tengah hutan dan melihat rusa-rusa Timor yang berjalan dengan elegan. Tanduknya yang indah membuat mereka tampak anggun dan cantik! Babi-babi hutan pun kerap terlihat berkeliaran mencari makan.

Tips saya jika ingin melakukan trekking, jangan lupa membawa air minum dan topi untuk menghalang teriknya sinar matahari. Oya, disini anda juga dapat singgah di outlet suvenir yang menjual t-shirts dengan desain yang modern, gantungan kunci, kartu pos, dan lain sebagainya.

Pada akhir kunjungan, wisatawan juga dapat singgah di area suvenir khusus untuk penjual patung komodo yang dibuat oleh masyarakat setempat. Harga patung bervariasi tergantung ukuran dan desain. Harga mulai dari Rp 50.000 ke atas.

Penasaran ingin menikmati keindahan Pulau Komodo? Yuk datang ke Loh Liang! ;)

Read Full Post »

Dr Andy Phillips

Dr Andy Phillips, a lizard expert from ex San Diego Zoo was in town! Why? How come? What for?

He came to Komodo National Park to give training sessions for PT Putri Naga Komodo’s staff. The four days training by Dr Andy Phillips was held on November 17th-18th, 2009 on Komodo Island, November 19th on Rinca Island and November 20th in PNK’s office in Labuan Bajo, Flores.

Dr Andy Phillips discussed several topics, such as geology of the islands of Komodo National Park, the evolution of komodo dragons and related species around the world, latest scientific findings about komodo dragons as well as some interesting key facts about this unique species.

Some of the interesting facts that Dr Andy Phillips shared with us were: apparently, komodo dragons have 3 eyes and 2 penises!!! Only 3 days/year that the female dragons have the desire to do intercourse with the male dragons and during these 3 days, the female dragons will extract a special body odor, so that the male dragons will notice that it’s the time to make babies! Interesting, isn’t it?

All information given is very useful for naturalist guides who provide information to tourists daily in Loh Liang and Loh Buaya, as well as for PNK’s staff in general. The more we know about the dragons, the better :)

During his stay on the islands, Dr Andy Phillips also helped PNK to develop a low-tech monitoring program for komodo dragons and its prey species. So, while the naturalist guides are taking tourists walking around the Park, they can record the density of the species that they encounter during the trekking.

This monitoring results will show which types of species that the tourists will most likely see on each trail as well as the probabilities of seeing them. It will also allow us to assess the impact of tourism activity on each trail.

It is a long term monitoring project. The naturalist guides will collect data everyday. The Conservation Department team will then compile all the data and analyze the results.

On behalf of PNK, we thanked Dr Andy Phillips for giving us such a useful training session, full of interesting key facts about komodo dragons!

Read Full Post »

The Seven Wonders of Nature is a campaign to select the world’s new seven wonders of nature through a global poll. The campaign is the brainchild of Swiss museum curator, pilot and explorer Bernard Weber.

The campaign, held by the New Open World Foundation in cooperation with The United Nations Office for Partnerships, aims at promoting cultural diversity by supporting, preserving, and restoring the world’s natural sites. The selection of the world’s seven wonders is expected to increase the public’s appreciation of the natural richness of in their country.

People around the globe are invited to determine the candidates’ ranking in a series of global voting campaigns held by the Switzerland-based nonprofit international foundation during the period of 2009-2011.

The New Open World Foundation and The United Nations Office for Partnerships open the registration for the competition until December 21, 2009. Nominees are defined as natural sites that are neither man-made nor have been significantly altered by humans for aesthetic reasons. Unique beauty, diversity, ecological significance, historical legacy, and geo-location are the other criteria for candidacy.

In the initial phase of selection, people could directly cast their vote at http://www.new7wonders.com. The first global polling lasted until July 7, 2009, and named 266 sites to be short-listed to 77 semifinalists.

In the second phase, the New Seven Wonders Panel of Experts chaired by former Director-General of UNESCO Professor Frederico Mayor visited the 77 semifinalists, picked 28 finalists, and announced the result globally on July 21, 2009. The Panel of Experts did not rank the 77 semifinalists and only listed them alphabetically.

The twenty-eight finalists will compete in the third phase of the race to become the seven wonders of nature. Unlike in the first phase when people could vote via the Internet, in this third and last phase, people could vote via the Internet, international phone call, and SMS. The Official Declaration of the New7Wonders of Nature will be made on December 31, 2011.

Complete information about the New Seven Wonders of Nature is available at:
http://www.new7wonders.com/

About Komodo National Park

The Komodo National Park (TNK) reached the final selection with the other 27 finalists. The park is a world heritage site and the only natural habitat of the world’s largest lizard.

The Komodo National Park successfully eliminated around 440 nominees from 220 countries.
The Ministry of Culture & Tourism has launched a national campaign to encourage Indonesians to vote online. PT. Putri Naga Komodo will work closely with the government during the campaign. Last month it produced a 30-second VOTEKOMODO TV commercial aired on national TV stations. It is currently producing a video clip for the campaign theme song, Komodoku.

Please help Komodo to win! Vote for us!

Read Full Post »

Legenda Putri Naga Komodo

“Jangan bunuh binatang ini, dia adalah saudara perempuanmu”

Ini adalah legenda rakyat mengenai Putri Naga Komodo.

Jaman dahulu, menurut dongeng masyarakat di Pulau Komodo, hiduplah seorang putri dimana orang memanggilnya Putri Naga Komodo. Putri ini menikah dengan seorang pria yang bernama Majo dan melahirkan sepasang bayi kembar (seorang manusia dan seekor komodo). Bayi laki-laki dinamainya Si Gerong dan dibesarkan di lingkungan manusia, sedangkan bayi komodo diberi nama Ora yang selanjutnya hidup di dalam hutan.

Tahun berlalu, suatu ketika Si Gerong berburu rusa di hutan, namun pada saat dia akan mengambil rusa buruannya itu tiba – tiba seekor kadal raksasa menyergap dan memakan binatang hasil buruan Si Gerong. Dia lalu mencoba untuk mengusir kadal tersebut, namun sia – sia. Kadal itu tetap berdiri tegak diatas bangkai rusa tersebut dan mengancam Si Gerong dengan gigi-gigi tajamnya.

Si Gerong memutuskan untuk memanah kadal raksasa itu, namun tiba –tiba muncul seorang wanita yang bersinar yaitu Putri Naga. Dengan lembut dia memisahkan Si Gerong dengan kadal itu dan berkata: “Jangan bunuh binatang ini, dia adalah saudara perempuanmu Ora. Aku melahirkan kalian berdua. Anggaplah kalian sama karena kalian adalah saudara kembar”.

Sejak saat itu, masyarakat di Pulau Komodo memperlakukan komodo dengan baik. Komodo bebas berkeliaran di dalam hutan dengan memangsa babi hutan, rusa serta binatang hutan lainnya. Bagi komodo yang sudah tidak bisa mencari mangsa sendiri, mereka diberi makan oleh saudara mereka – manusia.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.