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Latest news from the Wae Wuul Protection Plan for Komodo Dragons January 17, 2008

Posted by ekologi in Uncategorized.
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Latest news from the Wae Wuul Protection Plan for Komodo Dragons

source from Chester Zoo’s Action for the Wild

http://www.actionforthewild.org/index.cfm?fa=news.detail&id=37


Posted: 02/07/2007
The Wae Wuul Protection Plan is based on the island of Flores in Southeast Indonesia. In 2001, population densities of Komodo dragons on this island were estimated at 1 individual per 20 hectares. This is a marked decrease from surveys in 1991, probably caused by human-related pressure on natural habitats in the Wae Wuul Reserve, through poaching, cultivation of land and collection of firewood.

The 2006 Komodo dragon conservation programme commenced in the dry season in July 2006. Administration issues with the local authorities were dealt with in July, with staff from Komodo National Park and the Nature Resources Conservation Office working on a long term agreement regarding joint management of the Wae Wuul Reserve. A Non-Governmental Organisation, the Komodo Survival Programme, was formed early in 2007, requesting that the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria act as a supervisor of this Komodo dragon conservation project.

Field activities followed in August and September 2006 devoted to community awareness activities and patrolling of the Wae Wuul Reserve. Community awareness activities are vital for regular interaction with the members of the 8 villages living outside the reserve to show continuous commitment to conservation, to help minimise the levels of encroachment in Komodo dragon habitat and to explain the long term effects of intensive poaching on wildlife in the reserve. Lectures in the community awareness programme covered descriptions of the current status of the reserve and its wildlife, a review of policies against cultivation and exploitation of the reserve and an outline of the activities to promote conservation and monitoring. Soon after the community awareness programme, patrolling activities commenced, conducted solely by the villagers and representatives of the Indonesian Department of Forestry. These patrols took place on alternate days in September, along 5 patrolling paths. Throughout such patrols, the villagers recorded feral dogs, signs of hardwood cuttings, a fire along the reserve boundary, and goat and water buffalo herds within the reserve boundary. These results indicate a reduced human pressure compared to 2005, possibly indicating the effectiveness of patrolling activities in the last 2 years. The feral dogs still, however, pose a threat as they hunt deer, a prey species of the Komodo dragon.

It is hoped that once the Wae Wuul Protection Plan becomes established as a regular, annual initiative then such activities within the park boundaries will stop completely and Komodo dragon numbers will increase.

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