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Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)

Population Status

Population estimates

  • Approximately 5,700 individuals (all islands combined) (Claudino-Sales 2019)
  • Komodo National Park (Purwandana et al. 2014; data from 2011-2012)
    • Total national park abundance: about 2,450 individuals
    • Komodo Island: about 1160 individuals
    • Rinca Island: about 1185 individuals
    • Motang island: about 45 individuals
    • Kode Island: about 55 individuals
  • Flores
    • No recent estimates (though population monitoring conducted by Ariefiandy et al. 2015)
    • 100 on W. Flores (Wae Waul Reserve) (IUCN 1998)
    • 2000 scattered in non-protected areas (IUCN 1998)

Conservation Status

  • IUCN Status
    • Vulnerable (1996 assessment) (World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1996)
      • Not Endangered, but facing a high rate of extinction in the medium-term future
    • Appendix I: komodo dragon is threatened with extinction and affected by international trade.
  • Protected under Indonesian law (1931,1990) and 1991 Ministerial Decree

Threats to Survival

  • Main threat is human interference - habitat destruction due to logging, increased population
  • Wild dogs
  • Forest fires started by poachers to drive prey
  • Dynamite and cyanide poisoning used to collect fish for food has disturbed population
  • Poaching of deer on Padar led to Komodo's disappearance from this island
  • Because the wild population is geographically restricted it is sensitive to fluctuations in environmental conditions, disease epidemics, genetic drift, and inbreeding
  • Small closed populations are predicted to have low levels of genetic variability and increased disease susceptibility.
  • Deposition of volcanic ash can destroy vegetation and alter habitat.
  • Flores populations have declined markedly in the past few years because of logging concessions
  • No Komodos observed on Padar since 1970

Management Actions

  • Komodo National Park established in 1980: First management unit - 1984.
    • 173,300 hectares on 3 major islands - Komodo, Rinca and Gilli Motang
    • Funded from central government office in Jakarta
    • Management team is called " Perlindungan Hutan Dan Pelestarian Alam" or PHPA and is based at Labuan Bajo on the west coast of Fores. Staff of 90 (54 rangers)
  • Park Administration has initiated a conservation awareness program for young people in the region - some training of tour guides - participation in annual census.
  • Future plans: Extend KNP boundaries to two further islands; restrict population growth of island villages (two on Rinca and one on Komodo)

Page Citations

CBSG (1995)
Hudson et al. (1994)

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