‘Jurassic Park’ island project on track says Indonesia – despite UNESCO warnings

A “Jurassic Park” style tourism project featuring fearsome ten-foot lizards is to go ahead despite warnings from a United Nations agency.

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, has warned that a new series of developments in Indonesia's Komodo National Park could threaten the natural habitat of the Komodo Dragon – a giant carnivorous lizard that was only catalogued by Western scientists in 1910.

UNESCO officials told a World Heritage Committee conference that the new developments aimed dat expanding tourism in Indonesia’s Komodo National Park required a new environmental impact assessment because there were concerns over the potential risk to the Komodo dragon's natural habitat.

There are believed to be just over 3,000 Komodos still living in the wild, a number that has slowly declined over the past few years. The animal are currently classed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

"This project will proceed… it's been proven to have no impact," Wiratno, a senior official at Indonesia's environment ministry, told Reuters

It is not at present entirely clear what the project, centred on the island of Rinca, will entail.

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UNESCO officials say they requested an updated assessment from the Indonesian government last month but had so far received no response.

Komodos have only rarely been known to prey on human but they are fast-moving, powerful predators that appear to secrete a venom in their saliva that prevents blood clotting.

The Komodo dragon as it currently exists is thought to have emerged from an ancestor that lived in Australia about 4 million years ago.

The armoured monsters have been observed killing pigs, goats and deer. There are only three human fatalities on record, along with a larger number of severe injuries.

They have been known to dig up shallow graves to feast on the flesh of human corpses.

Most interestingly, females have been known to lay fertile eggs without ever having mated with a male, echoing the memorable line from Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.”

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