Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Komodo Dragon in the Wild

Indonesia's Komodo Dragon is on the "bucket" list of all serious nature lovers, so our birding group touring the Lesser Sundas was keen to see it on the final day of our trip.
We headed off at 5am from Labuan Bajo, a port town on the island of Flores, for our 4-hour boat journey to Komodo Island.
Our boat snaked its way through a series of islands before arriving off Komodo, where the vegetation was an odd mix of verdant, grassy savannah and pockets of monsoon forest.
A Large-billed Crow joined us on the boat just as we were approaching our landing point.
 It wasn't long before we spotted our first Komodo Dragon, the world's biggest lizard. It was dozing beneath the verandah of the national park office. We were given a briefing by a ranger, who warned us about the perils of approaching these critters too closely. These animals do in fact occasionally kill and devour people.
 We embarked on a short hike through the hills behind the park headquarters, seeing another dragon (actually a species of monitor or goanna) and enjoying some fine coastal scenery.

When we returned to the park office we were taken to the restaurant where four huge dragons were hanging about. This image gives a perspective of the size of these extraordinary animals.
 And another:

Occasionally one of the animals would seemingly eye us with interest and move in our direction, when the rangers would promptly deter them with the aid of forked staffs.

There were plenty of Timor Deer, the natural prey of the Komodo Dragon, about.

No comments:

Post a Comment