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Conservation of komodo dragons varanus komodoensis in the Wae Wuul nature reserve, Flores, Indonesia: a multidisciplinary approach
journal contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by A Ariefiandy, D Purwandana, C Natali, M J Imansyah, M Surahman, Tim Jessop, C Ciofi
Multidisciplinary conservation initiatives are increasingly advocated as best practice for recovering endangered species. The Komodo dragon Varanus komodoensis is the world's largest lizard, of prominent conservation value as an umbrella species for protection of south-east Indonesian ecosystems. Komodo dragons have faced multiple human-related threat processes in the past 30 years and are listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and considered Vulnerable according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. We report on a protection programme conducted from 2005 to 2012 in the Wae Wuul nature reserve, on the island of Flores, Indonesia. The Wae Wuul ranger post was completely rebuilt, and community awareness and involvement of local people in habitat-protection schemes were regularly and successfully implemented. Local rangers were trained in wildlife-monitoring techniques. Monitoring results indicated that Komodo dragon densities were lower in Wae Wuul than in the adjacent Komodo National Park; however, a relatively high level of genetic diversity was recorded for this population. Ungulate prey showed a relatively stable prey population density. Community-based initiatives and regular wildlife monitoring are crucial to ensure the persistence of Komodo dragons on Flores. The Wae Wuul protection programme is providing several sustainability indicators by which informed management plans can be designed for long-term conservation of Komodo dragons.