Komodo National Park is located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores in the Lesser Sunda Islands, at a distance of 200 nautical miles to the east of Bali. It has a total land area of 75,000 hectares and encompasses a number of islands, the largest of which are Komodo (34,000 hectares), Rinca (20,000 hectares), Padar, Nusa Kode, Motang, numerous smaller islands, and the Wae Wuul sanctuary on Flores. A total of 112,500 hectares of the surrounding waters are also under the jurisdiction of the park rangers.
|Komodo Island Map|
In 1938 Padar and the south and west of Rinca were declared a Wildlife Sanctuary, but it was only in 1965 that the island of Komodo was formally included in the sanctuary. Komodo National Park was established by government decree in 1980 followed by the designation of Komodo National Park as a World Heritage Site in 1991.
Komodo National Park has the lowest annual rainfall in all of Indonesia, with an abbreviated rainy season in the month of January. For most of the year Komodo is dry and hot, parched by arid winds from the Australian desert that blow from April through October. Maximum temperatures reach 43 C, with minimums of 17 C in August.
Most of the Park is dry, rugged and hilly, a combination of ancient volcanic eruptions and more recent tectonic uplift of sedimentary seabeds. The irregular coastline is indented with rocky headlands and sandy bays, many framed by soaring volcanic cliffs.
Komodo island is 35km long and 15km wide, and is mountainous on a north to south axis, with an average altitude of 500-600m. The highest peak is Satalibo (735m) in the north. Most of the island is lontar palm savannah with remnates of rainforest and bamboo forest at higher elevations. On Rinca the land rises gradually from the north coast to a plateau that ends at Mount Dora (667m) in the south. The rugged south coast is very sheer as a result of volcanic activity in the distant past, as evidenced by the crater bay in which Nusa Kode nestles.
The Park encompasses most of the recognized habitat of the largest known lizard, the world famous Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). The Park is also home to Sunda deer (Cervus timorensis), wild buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), wild boar ((Sus scrofa), the macaque monkey (Macaca fascicularis), and wild horse (Equus qaballus). All the large mammals have been introduced by man, but indigenous frogs, snakes and lizards abound on the island. The sole endemic species found on Komodo is the aptly named Komodo rat. Over 150 species of birds have been identified in Komodo National Park, many of which are migratory and more representative of Australasian than Asiatic species. Distinctive species include sulphur-crested cockatoos, imperial pigeons, white-breasted sea eagles and maleos. The seas surrounding the park teem with over 1000 species of fish and marine mammals.