Komodo, the volcanic island of giant lizards, lies 320 miles (515 kilometres) east of Bali. Komodo is 25 miles (40 kilometres) long and 12 miles (19 kilometres) wide; its parched hills ascend to a height of 2,410 feet (734 metres). Komodo is home to a community of some 2000 people who make their living primarily from fishing. The island is the centrepiece of the Komodo National Park, where you will find the most tangible legacy left behind from the Jurassic Era. Komodo Island was little-known and the Komodo dragons were only a myth until the giant lizards were scientifically described in 1912 . Extinct almost everywhere else, the island attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world who come to see the Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. Komodo National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. The Komodo dragon’s great bulk and weight are its most unique characteristics; even hatchlings average 20 inches (51 centimetres) in length. The adult male can reach 10 feet (3 metres) and weigh up to 330 pounds (150 kilos). Females attain only two-thirds of this size, and lay up to 30 eggs at a time. With their saw-like teeth, these fierce creatures are able to rip apart a deer, goat or wild pig. The animals have an uncanny sense of smell, and are considered among the world's most intelligent reptiles. They are quite agile over short distances, and can move swiftly to capture their prey.
The Indonesian Directorate of Nature Conservation (PPA) administers Komodo National Park. Park Rangers must escort all visitors; independent exploration of the park is not permitted.