The East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) administration has urged the Environment and Forestry Ministry to hand over the development rights for Komodo National Park amid recent reports of crime and disturbances around the world-famous destination.
NTT administration spokesman Marius A. Jelamu said such a rights transfer would allow the regional administration to increase security measures around the park.
“NTT Governor [Viktor B Laiskodat] urged the central government to hand over the authority to the regional administration so Komodo National Park could be more closely guarded,” Marius said in Kupang, NTT, on Thursday as quoted by Antara.
He went on to describe disconcerting reports of a fire on the Gili Lawa hills in the park complex, as well as the smuggling of komodo dragons that had prompted the regional administration to seek a more active role in ensuring the park’s safety.
“Recent reports of crimes and disturbance around Komodo National Park proves that the central government has been doing a poor job in protecting the park,” Marius said.
On Wednesday, the East Java Police apprehended a criminal network that allegedly attempted to smuggle 41 komodo dragons out of the country.
The komodo dragons, which had been illegally taken away from their habitat in Komodo National Park, were sold for Rp 500 million (US$35,119) each on the international black market, according to the police.