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Effects of human activities on Komodo dragons in Komodo National Park
journal contributionposted on 2018-11-01, 00:00 authored by Ardiantiono, Tim Jessop, D Purwandana, C Ciofi, M Jeri Imansyah, M R Panggur, A Ariefiandy
Understanding how threatened wildlife can coexist with humans over the long term is a central issue in conservation and wildlife management. Komodo National Park in Eastern Indonesia, harbors the largest extant populations of the endemic Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). Consistent with global trends, this species is expected to be increasingly exposed to human activities and in particular growing ecotourism activities. Here we comprehensively evaluated how human activities affected individual and population level attributes of Komodo dragons. We compared Komodo dragons phenotypic (behaviour, body size, and body condition) and demographic (age structure, sex ratio, survival, and density) responses to variation in human activities across national park. Komodo dragons were found to exhibit pronounced responses to high human activity level relative to sites with low and negligible human activities. Komodo dragons exposed to ecotourism exhibited significantly less wariness, larger body mass, better body condition, and higher survival. These results are entirely consistent with ecotourism activities that provided Komodo dragons with long-term and substantial nutritional subsidies as a consequence of feeding and human food refuse. However, we also noted the potential negative consequences of altered behaviour and adult-biased populations in ecotourism areas which may influence demographic processes through intraspecific competition or predation. To address this issue, we recommend that three management strategies to be implemented in future include: (1) removal of human-mediated nutritional subsidies, (2) alternative ecotourism, and (3) spatial regulation of ecotourism. Furthermore, we advocate the development of approaches to achieve a socio–ecological sustainability that benefits both people and wildlife conservation.
JournalBiodiversity and conservation
Pagination3329 - 3347
Publication classificationC Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice2018, Springer Nature B.V.
Science & TechnologyLife Sciences & BiomedicineBiodiversity ConservationEcologyEnvironmental SciencesBiodiversity & ConservationEnvironmental Sciences & EcologyAnimal behaviourEcotourismHuman-wildlife interactionsPhenotypic consequencesPopulation demographyProtected areasWildlife managementECOLOGICAL TRAPSVARANUS-KOMODOENSISOPEN POPULATIONSBODY CONDITIONTOURISMCONSERVATIONWILDLIFEDYNAMICSSURVIVALSIZEEcology