DRAFT : GUIDELINE FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF KOMODO DRAGON-HUMAN INTERACTION January 17, 2008Posted by ekologi in Uncategorized.
Tags: human interaction, Komodo dragon, local community, tourist
GUIDELINE FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF KOMODO DRAGON-HUMAN INTERACTION WITHIN CONCESSION AREA
Komodo National Park was established in 1980 to ensure the long-terms survival of Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), the largest living lizard in the world and the quality of its habitat (Erdman, 2004). Komodo dragon is protected species under Indonesian government regulation No. 8 1999 (Indonesia.1999). It is also listed in appendix I CITES, classified as vulnerable by IUCN (World Conservation Monitoring Center, 1996). Recently, the endangered status of Komodo dragons has been proposed to be updated following the reduction on populations, distribution and the evidence of population fragmentations (Ciofi & de Boer 2004).
Human activities within Komodo National Park has been existing before Komodo National Park established; even it is might be limited to human and wildlife interaction on local community such as nature resource harvesting (including terrestrial fruits and marine life). Apart from local community, human activities in tourism sector increased after Komodo National Park established, although UNESCO reported the statistical number of visitor showed steady decrease since 1997 to 2001 (from 29,842 to 12,612 respectively). With approximately 3000 people living in the park (located in Komodo Island, Rinca Island and Papagaran Island) (Erdman 2004) and a numbers of tourist visit Komodo National Park, it is important for management authority to manage human activities wisely along with wildlife (especially Komodo dragon and its habitat) in regard to create sustainable profitable human activities within the park including tourisms.
Due to the occurrence of interaction between human and Komodo dragon, therefore, the management authority will require a guideline for managing sort of interaction. A guideline on how human and wildlife could interact for sustainability of live hood with survival of wildlife is necessary to be developed. The guideline is including certain procedures that can be implemented by park authority within Komodo National Park.
Identification of Issues
1. How to reduce human impact on Komodo dragon and other wildlife
Wild animals are sensitive to variety of human activities, such as Bald Eagles are sensitive to visibility and noise levels (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2007). The impact of human activities on Komodo dragon has documented by Lilley in Monk et al (2000), especially feeding attraction for tourist that change the natural behavior of Komodo dragons for hunting their preys. Another evidence were reported by Purwandana (2007) where nesting female avoiding human that approach to their nest.
2. How to increasing presence of Komodo dragons and others wildlife as tourism attraction.
In contrary, within tourism area, there are evidences of Komodo dragons difficult to find by tourist especially during mating season. There are several actions needed to solve the problems on managing the Komodo dragons along the tourism path.
3. How to reduce Komodo dragon’s impact on humans
The park authority should prevent the probability of wild life attack on human (villagers and tourists). The occurrences of Komodo dragon attack people (villager and tourist) should be consider as references on managing this animals when interact with people.
Several management actions are required to be implemented by park authority in order to address the issues;
1. Alternative jungle tracking / tourist paths.
à Alternative tourist path are necessary to established as substitute to the existing paths that crossing or near Komodo dragon’s nests is essential to construct and utilize during nesting season to reduce disturbance to females.
2. Limit number of visitors in a group
To reduce human impact on Komodo dragons:
à Limit the maximum number of people in a tracking group (We recommend not more than 10 people). The aim of this action is to minimize impact of visitors disturbing Komodo dragons and other wildlife.
à The gap between groups should be hold for 10 (ten) minutes each. This should be followed by sufficient number of guides. Maintaining gaps between groups will reduce the impact of human on wildlife, by minimizing contact between wildlife (especially Komodo dragons) and human. Funds should be provided for radio tranceivers to be allocated to rangers during guiding tours, in order for them to communicate with the sentry post and coordinate walking paces with preceding or following tourist groups.
à For specific flora or fauna observation interest, such as birdwatching, activities, it is more comfortable a group consist of maximum 3 people.
3. Establish observation platform or tower.
à This kind of action should be taken in order to reducing impact of human activities to active Komodo dragons nest or Megapode bird nest. The observation platform/tower could be permanently far from nest location (Jessop et al. 2004 has identified almost all nest location in Komodo Island). Another option is the alternative paths during nesting activities (Komodo dragons and Megapode bird).
4. Waste Management
Waste management should eliminate the attractiveness of Komodo dragon and other animals disturbing rubbish, and change the animal’s behavior to stay around the camp.
à Plastics material should not left in the islands. Plastics bags (from food) could eat by Komodo dragons and damage their digestive system.
à Rubbish from food (chicken/fish bones) should left from bungalows, ranger’s kitchens, and restaurant because Komodo dragons may still hang around the camp and change their natural behavior such as hunting. However, this is not immediately change the behavior of Komodo dragons around the camp, as the present situation has been going on for long time ago (more than 10 years).
5. Terrestrial Monitoring and Surveillance.
à Terrestrial monitoring and surveillance should focus on how to reduce number of illegal poaching (especially for deer) and illegal logging. Partially in Loh Liang, Illegal deer poaching might not occurred. However, evidence of illegal logging (including harvesting Tamarind and Srikaya fruit) in Loh Loh liang are frequently happened by villagers. Consider Loh Liang as tourism area, totally eliminate villagers activities are important. As the result, compensation area should be provided (Loh Kubu and Loh Bube)
6. Hanging bait
à Hanging bait might be performed in order to increase number of Komodo dragons sighting. However, this have to be wisely execute in order to eliminate behavior changes, therefore the Komodo dragon still hunt their preys. This can be done such as in random place and random time (once every month) along tourist paths
7. Establish and maintain artificial waterponds
à To increase wildlife sighting, rearrange artificial waterponds might become a consideration. This was demonstrated by Smit et al. (2007) on ungulates distributions in Africa are affected by location of artificial waterhole. Artificial waterhole may include next to the nest to increase probability of nesting females get enough food for body recovery.
à Certain education should conducted by park to villagers, people from Flores and Sumbawa mainland, including tourist. The material of education should encourage people to be wisely interact with wildlife, safety information when visit park, educate people to responsible of their own rubbish.