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.

The Tasty Roundup: App Pays You To Eat Vegan, Cell-Based Lobster, Pink Pineapple & More

In this week’s spread of tasty news – pay-a-vegan pays people to eat plant-based meals, cell-based firm Shiok Meats launches lobster meat, pink pineapple now available, white strawberries coming soon, the most underrated foodie destinations in the world, and RecoMentor launches site.

China’s Caviar: The Rising Reign in the Culinary World

The caviar on the menu of Michelin-starred restaurants may come from an unexpected place: China.

Hundreds of Animals Died at Pakistan Pet Markets due to Lockdown

Abandoned when Pakistan’s largest cities went into lockdown, hundreds of caged cats, dogs and rabbits have been found dead inside pet markets hurriedly shuttered as the coronavirus spread.

Philippines’ World-Beating Pool Stars Playing Out of Poverty

Pool isn’t just a game in the Philippines but a way to make a living, driving a fiercely competitive scene that has produced some of the world’s top players.

‘Completely Smashed’ – Oceania Gamers Suffer eSports Setback

Despite a global boom, the closure of one of the southern hemisphere’s biggest eSports leagues has left its players in Australia and across Oceania facing an uncertain future.

Asia’s Hidden Problem: Polluted Water

In the midst of war, access to clean water remains a priority in conflict-ridden states in Asia.

Native Tibetan NYPD Officer Charged with Spying for China

US authorities have charged a New York police officer with espionage, accusing him of gathering information about the city’s Tibetan community for the Chinese government.

Japan Towns Offer Masks as Reward for Tax Donation

Japanese towns offer popular local specialities from wagyu beef to tuna as gifts to citizens who donate money in a special tax scheme, but the coronavirus pandemic has made masks this year’s must-have item.

Philippines Turn Problems into Solutions: Make Volcano’s Ash and Plastic Waste Into Bricks

Ash spewed by a Philippine volcano is being mixed with plastic waste to make bricks in an inventive response to the country’s persistent problems of pollution and frequent natural disasters.

‘Better Days’ Shines Light on China School Bullying Tops Box Office

A harrowing drama about school bullying has struck a strong personal chord with Chinese cinema audiences and soared to the top of the box office, after authorities belatedly gave it the go-ahead.

Scrapping Japan Cherry Blossom ‘Like Taking Hugs Away From Italians’

Preventing Japanese from gathering to enjoy cherry blossom season because of the coronavirus would be like “taking hugs away from Italians,” the governor of Tokyo said on Thursday.

‘A Total Lie’: Misinformation Puts China’s Moms off Breastfeeding

Unregulated, aggressive promotion of formula milk, poor medical advice, short maternity leave and workplaces hostile to nursing mothers mean China has among the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world and is falling well short of its own targets, experts warn.

‘Virtual Kidnappings’ Warning for Chinese Students in Australia

Elaborate “virtual kidnappings” are being used to extort money from the friends and relatives of Chinese students Down Under, Australian police warned Monday, after a spate of transnational scams were reported.

Bring Me Banana and Whisky: Plea From Virus Cruise ‘Prisoner’

One banana a day, washed down with neat whiskey: that’s the humble request from a British passenger on the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off Japan whose Facebook posts have made him an online star.

Thai Woman Handed Record Four-Decade Jail Term for Lese Majeste

A Thai woman accused of insulting the royal family was jailed Tuesday for more than 43 years, a legal rights group said, the harshest punishment ever handed out under the country’s strict lese majeste laws.

Quick Specs On The J-20: China’s Most Powerful Stealth Jet

Quick Specs On The J-20 – China’s Most Powerful Stealth Jet & How It Compares To US’s F-22

Billionaire Cirque du Soleil Founder Detained for ‘Growing Cannabis’

The billionaire founder of global acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte, has been detained in French Polynesia on suspicion of growing cannabis on his private island in the South Pacific, authorities said.

Cambodian Double Amputee Artist Fights Stigma Through Art

Whispered insults, social isolation, and lost opportunities — Morn Chear is channelling the stigma he has endured since he lost both his hands a decade ago into artwork that highlights the hardships of Cambodia’s disabled.

Lonely Rhino ‘Kanchi’ Seeks Mate in Bangladesh

A lonely rhinoceros at a Bangladesh zoo is looking for new love after losing her partner seven years ago, but pandemic travel restrictions are hampering her keeper’s attempts to play matchmaker.

Amazon Prioritizes Medical Supplies, Staples for Delivery

Amazon on Tuesday made a priority of medical supplies and household staples, putting shipments of other goods on hold to focus on key items during the coronavirus outbreak.

Vietnam’s Former Mayor and F1 Backer Jailed for Stealing State Documents

Hanoi’s former mayor, a key backer of Vietnam’s delayed Formula One Grand Prix, was jailed for five years on Friday for stealing state documents, casting further clouds over the troubled race.

The Eerie Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Philippines

In the Philippines, hundreds of coffins dangle from towering cliffs

Eat Your Kimchi: Study Shows Fermented Foods Lower COVID-19 Death Rates

Loading up on Kimchi in every meal seems like a dream. This fermented cabbage side dish has been a staple in Korean kitchens for decades, and a new study suggests it is linked to low COVID-19 fatality rate.

Japan’s Internet Cafe ‘Refugees’ Seek Shelter Amid Lockdown

Thousands of homeless “net cafe refugees” in Japan risk being turfed out onto the streets as the coronavirus pandemic forces the sudden closure of their uniquely Japanese 24/7 comic book havens.

Pandas Finally Mate in Privacy While Theme Park Shutdown

Stuck at home with no visitors and not much else to do, a pair of pandas in Hong Kong finally decided to give mating a go after a decade of dodging the issue.

Climate Change: Asia’s Biggest Threat

Climate Change is something you may be familiar about. But do you know its detrimental effects on Asia? Find out why you should be worried about this crisis.

Scared but Desperate, Thai Sex Workers Forced to the Street

A shutdown to contain the coronavirus has killed Thailand’s party scene and forced sex workers like Pim out of bars and onto desolate streets. She’s scared but desperately needs customers to pay her rent.

Virus Death Toll Hits 500,000, LA Shuts Bars Again as US Struggles

More than half a million people have died in the coronavirus pandemic, an AFP tally showed Sunday, as bars in Los Angeles were ordered to close again due to surging cases in the United States.

Danish Newspaper Angers China Over ‘Coronavirus’ Flag

A Danish newspaper refused to apologize to China on Tuesday over a satirical cartoon it ran about the deadly new virus that has killed dozens and infected thousands more.

Hong Kong Carrie Lam Endures Barrage of Anger at Town Hall Meeting

Hong Kong’s embattled leader endured a barrage of criticism at a town hall meeting Thursday night that laid bare anger coursing through the city after months of huge, sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.

Tibet’s Only Soccer Club Folds Due to High Altitude

Tibet’s first and only professional football team has become the latest in a string of Chinese clubs to fold, following a row over hosting matches in one of the highest cities in the world.

China’s Wealthy Hire Organizers to Manage Luxury Purchases

The discovery of a Burberry jacket she does not recall buying proved to Chen Rui that she was right to have brought in experts to manage her out-of-control luxury wardrobe.

Hong Kong Teen Found Guilty for Insult on China’s Flag

A Hong Kong teenager was found guilty on Friday of insulting China’s national flag and unlawful assembly as Beijing accelerates its crackdown on dissent and the city’s pro-democracy movement.

Stunning Nathan Chen Takes Gold at World Championships

US figure skating sensation Nathan Chen set new world record scores on his way to a third consecutive men’s gold at the ISU Grand Prix Final in Turin on Saturday, as teenager Alena Kostornaia also hit new marks to lead a Russian podium sweep of the women’s event.

China’s ‘Great Firewall’ Blocks Almost a Quarter of Global News Sources

China’s “Great Firewall” system of online censorship blocks domestic access to nearly a quarter of the foreign news organisations accredited to report in the country, a press watchdog said Tuesday.

NBA Returns to Chinese State TV after Year-Long Blackout

China’s state broadcaster ended a year-long blackout of NBA games on Saturday, citing “goodwill” from the US basketball competition following a row over Hong Kong pro-democracy protests.

Freed From Coronavirus, Taiwan Celebrates Pride Month

With its coronavirus outbreak defeated, Taiwan hosted one of the few pride marches around the world on Sunday as the island’s LGTBQ community and their supporters took to the streets.

Absolute Perfection: South Korea’s Obsession with Plastic Surgery

With an average of 20 cosmetic procedures/1000 Koreans, has South Korea’s ultra-competitiveness and lookism reached fever pitch?

BTS ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ Breaks Records with 4M Pre-Orders

K-pop superstars BTS released their new album “Map of the Soul: 7” Friday, breaking records even before it came out as the country’s most pre-ordered album ever and its lead single making its debut on video app TikTok.

Japanese University Set to Offer Anime and Manga Courses

It’s no secret that anime and manga are a big part of Japanese culture. Now, those interested to learn the ropes of the industry can finally do it at Kaishi Professional University. The school recently approved its Manga and Anime department.

Iconic Arcade Game Pac-Man Turns 40 Today

Forty years ago, a new video game featuring a bright yellow, dot-chomping, ghost-dodging character called Pac-Man appeared in Tokyo. It would become the most successful arcade game of all time.

The Secretive Church at Center of South Korea’s Virus Outbreak

The secretive South Korean religious group at the center of the country’s new coronavirus outbreak is a sprawling network so wealthy it can mobilize thousands of believers to hold Pyongyang-style mass performances at Seoul’s Olympic stadium.

Exclusive: Ahtisa Manalo Opens Up about Fame, Cats, and Her Wish for Uninterrupted Sleep

Interview: At twenty-one years old, Ahtisa Manalo is one of the Philippines’ youngest and most influential beauty queens. The multi-hyphenated beauty shares her love for beaches, her cats, and most importantly, clocking in extra sleep. 

The Truth about Asia and its Obsession with Plastic

Plastic waste has become a common sight in Asia. But why should you care?

Tempe: Indonesia’s Vegan Superfood

Get to know Indonesia’s famous vegan soybean wonder food

Under Pressure: Google to Start Paying for News Content

Google announced plans Thursday to pay some news organizations for content in a departure from its past practice following pressure from governments and media groups around the world.

Hong Kong Bank Staff Arrested in US$810M Laundering Probe

Seven former and current bank employees have been arrested in Hong Kong as part of a major operation against a US$810 million international money-laundering syndicate, police said Wednesday.

Tearful Jeremy Lin Seeks NBA Return after One Season in China

Jeremy Lin said Tuesday he is leaving the Beijing Ducks after one season in China and wants to return to the NBA, where he sparked the “Linsanity” craze of 2012.

World Ushers in New Year under COVID Shadow

Confetti fluttered on to frontline workers scattered across Times Square after fireworks burst above eerily quiet landmarks from Sydney Harbour Bridge to Copacabana beach, as the world ushered in the New Year with muted celebrations and said good riddance to a pandemic-ridden 2020.

Racing Pigeon Sells for Record $1.9M to Chinese Fancier

An unidentified Chinese buyer on Sunday paid a world record 1.6 million euros ($1.9 million) for a female homing pigeon called New Kim, online auctioneers Pigeon Paradise (PIPA) said.

Myanmar Sex Education Textbook Outraged by Conservatives

Unchaperoned teens, gay partners and sex workers – fictional characters in a new curriculum for Myanmar schools are causing a real-world tussle over morality in a deeply conservative nation.