Indonesia: Komodo Island Eyed to Shut Down

Apr 29, 2019 | ESCAPE, Indonesia, NEWS

Culture & Travel 

Sacred Monkey Forest – Bali | Shankar S

Visiting Indonesia to see Komodo Dragons next year? You might want to adjust your plans.

Wildlife enthusiasts all over the world might want to skip visiting Komodo Island. East Nusa Tenggara officials are planning to close down the park for one year.

This decision was prompted by the need to fix problems which came up due to mass tourism. Thousands of tourists go to the islands located in the eastern part of the country to visit the world’s largest lizards.

The island is home to thousands of dragons which weighs 70 to 90 kilograms and can grow up to three feet in length.

According to Marius Jelamu, NTT administration spokesperson, the closure will only be in Komodo Island and will not include other conservation areas where the dragons are present.

Rinca Island - Indonesia

Rinca Island – Indonesia | Isabell Schulz

Jelamu added that the closure will give the authorities time to ensure that the food of the precious animals is enough, as well as preserve their home. Officials also aim to increase the population of the animals.

The area is the only place in the world where people can see the animals in their natural habitat.

The plans to close the park for visitors has been under discussion for months following the smuggling of 41 Komodo dragons which were sold for around 500 million rupiahs each, or around $35,000.

Komodo Island has increased its popularity in recent years because of cheap new flights and hotels in Flores and Labuan Bajo. It receives around 10,000 visitors monthly.

Komodo National Park Indonesia

Komodo National Park Indonesia | Charlie Marchant

UNESCO reported that in the islands of Komodo, Gili Motong, Rinca, and other coastal regions of northern and western Flores, there are around 5,700 dragons.

The supersize lizards are not the only attraction of the park. Tourists can also snorkel and dive in the area, as well as marvel at its striking scenery.

The news of Komodo Island’s ban is only one example of many Asia news of closure of tourist spots to give time to rehabilitate. Some areas which also closed down are Boracay, and Maya Bay.

BTS Walks Louis Vuitton FW21 Show in Korea

It seems BTS did not only take k-pop by storm but also fashion. The K-pop group walked Louis Vuitton’s FW21 runway as their global ambassadors. The pop icons graced the show in a fashion film directed by Jeon Go-woon.

Why People Join the Chinese Communist Party

The Chinese Communist Party boasts 92 million members from all walks of life, drawn by ideology, ambition, and the pragmatic knowledge of how to get ahead in the world’s second-largest economy.

New BTS Album Racks up Millions of Listens Within Hours

Tens of millions of fans around the world raced to listen to the latest offering from BTS on Friday, as the K-pop sensation dropped their highly anticipated new album to a deluge of excitement.

Gay US Couple to be Deported after Calling Bali ‘Queer Friendly’

A gay American couple is being deported from Bali after viral tweets that called the Indonesian resort island “queer friendly”.

Taiwan Expels Two Chinese Journalists Over Political Shows

Taiwan expelled two mainland Chinese journalists Friday after a talk show on their channel pushed for Beijing “unifying” with the self-ruled island, in the latest sign of deteriorating ties between the two rivals.

Thai Royal Stripped of All Titles for ‘Disloyalty’

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has stripped his 34-year-old consort of all titles for “disloyalty” and apparent “ambition” to match the Queen’s position, a royal command issued late Monday said, less than three months after she was bestowed with the honour.

Indian Officials Capture Rare Snow Leopard

A rare snow leopard captured as it savaged livestock in a remote village in the Indian Himalaya will be sent to a zoo instead of being released, officials said Sunday, triggering outrage from activists.

‘Himalayan Viagra’ Harvest Shut Down Due to Pandemic

The lucrative annual trek to harvest a caterpillar fungus nicknamed “Himalayan Viagra” that can fetch three times the price of gold in China will be banned amid Nepal’s coronavirus lockdown, officials said Thursday.

Hong Kong Woman Breaks Record for Fastest Ascent of Everest

Hong Kong mountaineer Tsang Yin-hung has recorded the world’s fastest ascent of Everest by a woman with a time of just under 26 hours, a Nepal official said Thursday.

Too Fast and Easy: Instant-Noodle are Harming Asian Kids

A diet heavy on cheap, modern food like instant noodles that fills bellies but lacks key nutrients has left millions of children unhealthily thin or overweight in southeast Asia, experts say.

Must-Have Korean Staples in the Kitchen

If you really love Korean food, you will love these kitchen staples.

Facebook Moves to Block Taliban’s WhatsApp Accounts

Facebook said Tuesday it was blocking WhatsApp accounts linked to the Taliban after the radical Islamic group seized control of Afghanistan and sought to use the messaging service to help it govern.

Hundreds of Taiwanese Book Guam Vaccination Trips

Hundreds of Taiwanese people eager to get a coronavirus vaccine have booked tours to Guam after the US Pacific territory offered jabs to foreign visitors, a travel agency said Friday.

Hong Kong Police Raid Shuttered Tiananmen Museum

Hong Kong police on Thursday raided a museum that houses exhibits commemorating Beijing’s deadly crackdown on Tiananmen Square in 1989, a day after they arrested four members of the group that ran the venue.

Most Breathtaking Beaches in The Philippines

Want to skip the dull weather and head to a tropical paradise in the Philippines? We’ve rounded up the best beach destinations in the country just for you

Top 5 Bars in Asia 2020 Edition

50 Best has just released its Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 List. The publication intends to give the bars and their respective teams’ recognition for their hard work. It also aims to give positivity to the bar industry as establishments begin to open following the pandemic.

Basquiat Painting Sells for $41.8M at Live-Streamed Christie’s Auction

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Warrior” painting sold for $41.8 million at a live-streamed Christie’s auction in Hong Kong on Tuesday, becoming what the auction house said was the most expensive Western work of art ever sold in Asia.

Pakistan’s Lonely Elephant Kaavan Packs Trunk for Cambodia

With music, treats and balloons, friends of Pakistan’s only Asian elephant threw a farewell party for the creature ahead of its relocation to Cambodia following years of campaigning by animal rights activists.

The Best Asian LBGTQ Films to Watch this Pride Month

If you can’t attend Asian Pride parties and events, one of the best ways to celebrate is to check out movies that show an honest narrative about the Asian LBGTQ community.

Zhang Zhan: The Defiant Citizen Journalist Jailed for Challenging China’s Virus Story

Frail and in a wheelchair from prolonged hunger strike, 37-year-old former lawyer Zhang Zhan issued a mostly silent rebuke to the Chinese legal system, before being jailed for publishing stories about the pandemic that China does not want to be told.

Under Beijing’s Watchful Eye, Joshua Wong Treads Fine Line

Not a day goes by without Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong wondering how long it will be before the police’s new national security unit comes for him.

Liberty or Death: Hong Kong Protesters Explore Sewers to Escape

Arms covered in cling film and torches in hand as they drop into the sewers, clusters of pro-democracy protesters still inside a Hong Kong campus are plotting increasingly ingenious — and desperate — ways to escape a police siege.

With Travel Limited, Plane Cafes Take off in Thailand

With millions around the world stuck at home due to the pandemic, “plane cafes” in Thailand are offering customers the chance to pretend they are in the sky — and the idea seems to have taken off.

South Korea’s #NoMarriage Movement

Young women in South Korea have begun rejecting marriage and motherhood, basically any traditionally female roles, in a united front for feminism and solidarity.

Today’s Must-Have: The Tiniest Wearable Air Cleaner in the World

Ible technology has developed a compact air cleaner you can wear to work, school, and public transportation. This helpful device is designed to improve everyone’s living quality and protect them from airborne bacteria, allergens, and viruses.

Holi: The Most Colorful Festival of All Festivals

More than just being a colourful event, the famous Holi festival of India and Pakistan bears great significance in the lives of the people in more ways that what meets the eyes.

Kesar Mango: The Crown Jewel of all Mangoes

Man-go crazy with these delicious and unique fruits that only grow in the summer in India.

Celebrities Break Silence as Thailand Protests Escalates to Unprecedented Level

A K-pop superstar, beauty queens and TV personalities are among a growing wave of celebrities backing Thailand’s pro-democracy movement, sending out messages of support to millions of followers on social media.

Hong Kong Police Help #HKIndependence Trend on Twitter

As China moves to intimidate and punish anyone who voices support for Hong Kong independence, an unlikely source has inadvertently ignited a Twitter trending hashtag advocating just that –- the city’s police force.

Indonesian Student Dubbed as UK’s Most Prolific Rapist with Over 195 Attacks

An Indonesian student described as Britain’s most prolific rapist was jailed for life on Monday for a catalogue of sex offences on unsuspecting men he drugged and assaulted.

India Sets New World Record with 78,761 Virus Cases in One Day

India on Sunday set a coronavirus record when it reported 78,761 new infections in 24 hours — the world’s highest single-day rise — even as it continued to open up the economy.

Female Bodybuilder with One Leg Captures Hearts in China

Tears fill Gui Yuna’s eyes as she describes losing her right leg in a road accident aged seven and school bullies kicking away her crutch to make her fall.

Flying Taxis Taking Flight over Singapore

A drone-like flying taxi whirred over Singapore’s waterfront Tuesday, with the firm behind the test hoping the aircraft will revolutionise travel in traffic-choked Asian cities.

The Unbanked in Asia

Southeast Asia alone has 650 million unbanked individuals. Despite improving connectivity, many countries in Asia still show large percentages of the ‘unbanked,’ or people who simply do not have ownership or access to traditional bank accounts.

From China to Queensland: The Extraordinary Life of Ballet Dancer Li Cunxin

Since Li Cunxin was plucked from rural China to join Madame Mao’s elite ballet school, through his exile in the US and now the pandemic, his life has been a reluctant pas de deux with politics.

Indonesia on Fire: Losing Our Minds Over Blasphemy Laws

Indonesia is beginning to change its face of tolerance, to one of repression and radical Islamism.

Hong Kong Political Rookies Thrust from Obscurity to Center Stage

A colourful cast of political novices who won Hong Kong’s local elections are attending cramming courses and trading tips on how to take the fight to the city’s pro-Beijing establishment in their own neighbourhoods.

Pakistanis’ Animals Scrub Clean at the Car Wash ahead of EID Festival

In the run-up to the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, Karachi car-wash owner Sheikh Sagheer sees much of the traffic at his business switch from four wheels to four legs.

South Korean MP Apologizes over BTS Tattoo Pictures

South Korea’s youngest MP apologized Thursday after she provoked fury among BTS fans by using pictures of tattooed singer Jungkook to promote her campaign to liberalize the country’s restrictive laws on inking.

‘Thrilla in Manila’ Changed Muhammad Ali, Frazier Forever

When Muhammad Ali survived 14 brutal rounds with Joe Frazier in the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ 45 years ago, it wrote a page in boxing folklore but left both men forever diminished.

Bangkok Slum Gets Michelin-Starred Meals from Thai Beauty Queen

Surrounded by children in a Bangkok slum, Miss Universe Thailand handed out lunch boxes prepared by Michelin-starred chefs on Monday — a project to help some of the capital’s worst Covid-hit communities.

Roadsides too Noisy for Birds to Think, Crickets to Mate

Crickets and the birds that snack on them are not natural allies, but they do have a common enemy, according to a pair of studies published Wednesday: roadside noise pollution.

Indonesia’s Hijab Headbangers Trade Village Life for Metal Heaven

Indonesia’s hijab-wearing, headbanging VOB count some of rock music’s biggest stars among their fans, but the all-female heavy metal band faced a tougher battle in winning over their parents.

Internet Blackout in Myanmar’s Rakhine Enters Second Year

The internet shutdown in Myanmar’s conflict-ridden northwest, described by rights groups as the world’s longest, entered a second year Sunday with locals and campaigners appealing for an end to the blackout as coronavirus fears grip the region.

Singapore’s World-First to Attach Facial Verification to ID Database Sparks Privacy Fears

Singapore will become the world’s first country to use facial verification in its national ID scheme, but privacy advocates are alarmed by what they say is an intrusive system vulnerable to abuse.

China Offers Pre-Marriage Counseling to Prevent Divorce

China is offering state-sponsored marriage counseling to couples before they tie the knot in an attempt to slow rising divorce rates.

Beijing School Students Trial Temperature-Tracking Bracelets

Temperature-monitoring bracelets that alert an app if a student has a fever were being trialed at Beijing schools on Monday — China’s latest use of high-tech to track its population’s possible exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Australia’s Secret Mission to Save ‘Dinosaur Trees’ from Bushfires

A secret operation by specialist firefighters has saved the world’s last stand of Wollemi Pines, a pre-historic species known as “dinosaur trees”, from Australia’s unprecedented bushfires, officials said.

GagaOOLala: Asia’s First LGBT-Focused Streaming Service

A rom-com about a lesbian flight attendant and a romance in a gay spa are among the shows featured on Asia’s first LGBT-focused streaming service, which is pushing boundaries in an often highly conservative region.

China Release Guidelines to Battle ‘Money Worship’ Online Platforms

Online live shows and livestream e-commerce platforms must not promote “bad habits” such as showing off wealth or “money worship” according to rules published Monday by Beijing, in the latest sign of tightening in China’s massive livestream industry.

Eight Days in Wuhan, Cut off from the World

For eight days, an AFP team lived and worked at the centre of a global health emergency, witnessing how life in the Chinese city of Wuhan was turned upside down as it was cut off from the world.