Controversial plan to save ‘shrinking’ Komodo dragons

Tour guide Ikhsan Abdul Amir, who lives on Komodo Island, said the plan had caused anxiety among locals, many of whom relied on tourism for their livelihood.

“It is not easy to change us to fishermen again,” Ikhsan said. “If we are relocated, will the government help us get a job for instance?”

He believed Viktor had seen an old dragon when he visited Komodo Island, which had looked thin and small. “I think the size of the dragons has stayed the same all these years,” he said.

Marta Muslin, from the West Manggarai chapter of the Association of Indonesia Travel Agencies, said she supported a hike in fees.

“The money could be used for conservation works and for police to patrol the island so there would be no illegal poaching of deer,” she said. “How much the increase would be should be based on a study.”