Mission: The Wae Wuul protection plan was developed to protect the remnant Komodo dragon population in Wae Wuul and avoid expansion of habitat encroachment. The project has four main components: community awareness, patrolling and law enforcement, involvement of the local community in protection and conservation and capacity building.
Species: Komodo dragon
Location: Flores, Indonesia
Support started: 2005
Donating: €1,000 annually towards the main components of the project.
Find out more about our work with project through our annual report:
Background: The Wae Wuul nature reserve is situated on the west coast of the island of Flores in Indonesia. In recent years, Komodo dragons on this island have been poorly protected. Feral and domestic dogs are often used to illegally hunt deer, the main prey source of Komodo dragons. In addition, poachers frequently light bushfires, to promote grass growth and fresh grazing grounds for deer, which are then easily located by the hunters and their dogs.
Komodo dragons are restricted to 5 southern Indonesian islands and they have the smallest range of any large predator in the world. On the island of Flores, where this project is based, there is estimated to only be 160 individuals left. In 2004, it was estimated that in Wae Wuul alone there was 1 komodo per 60ha, however no reports have been done since then to find out current density sizes. The project is working hard to protect its current unknown population of Komodo dragons.
The training of staff in wildlife monitoring techniques is an essential part of the project. This data helps to produce estimates of Komodo dragon and ungulate population size and density. To collect data on Komodo dragons, staff are trained on how to use baited aluminium cages for trapping them, marking them with microchips and on the collection of blood samples. Collection of this data will give a deeper understanding into the current population size, survival rates and age structure of Komodo dragons on the reserve.
Patrolling activities represent an important component of the Komodo dragon conservation programme in the Wae Wuul nature reserve. Patrolling is conducted across the reserve to monitor and control arson in the savannah and grassland, control the occurrence of feral dogs, wood harvesting and halt illegal hunting of deer. The project during its recent patrolling activities has also tested a new monitoring technique, using camera traps and bait to attract wildlife. The hope is this could be used as an alternative to live caging for Komodo dragon population density estimates.
Future objectives: It is hoped that once the Wae Wuul Protection Plan becomes established as a regular, annual initiative then illegal activities within the park boundaries will stop completely and Komodo dragon numbers will increase.