Many travellers flock to the Indonesian island of Komodo, the home of the ancient Komodo dragon, to see the amazing 150kg lizards in their native habitat. That may all change soon with authorities considering putting a tourist ban in place.

The proposed temporary tourist ban comes amid reports that the protected and endangered species are being stolen and smuggled overseas.

Police in East Java arrested five people earlier this year for smuggling Komodo dragons and other protected animals. According to police reports the suspects had already sold more than 41 Komodos through Facebook (for around $US35,000 each).

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Indonesian authorities say a temporary tourist ban would be a way to increase the Komodo dragon species by planting native vegetation to restock the dragon’s food supply.

At this stage there is no confirmation on when the closure will happen or for how long but some discussions have suggested it could last a year, starting from January 2020.

Local tourism agency head Marius Ardu Jelamu told AFP that the mass tourism happening on Komodo Island was “really disturbing”.

“When there are too many tourists in sensitive areas like Komodo National Park, the dragons can be adversely affected.”

Local tourism agency head Marius Ardu Jelamu

It is estimated there are about 5,700 Komodo dragons in the wild and the lizard is listed as both endangered and protected.

Komodo Island is one of the three larger islands that make up Komodo National Park. The rest of the park is expected to remain open.

Do you think the ban will be beneficial?