Ten-foot-long reptiles in Indonesia have the taste for human flesh, and it’s the fault of…the Nature Conservancy?
That’s what some of the locals are saying. According to the Wall Street Journal, a Komodo dragon killed a young boy last year near the dragons’ main home, Komodo National Park, and since then dragon attacks on people have become much more frequent. And one reason the Komodos have started feeding on the locals, they say, is that they have stopped feeding the Komodos.
Many of the local people view the ancient lizards as their friends and family members reincarnated, so harming the dragons is a no-no. In fact, villagers frequently left goats and deer tied up as a feast for the dragons, a la Jurassic Park. But when the Nature Conservancy inspected the park, at the behest of the Indonesian government, they said the locals must stop hunting deer so the park would remain wild and the lizards would not become domesticated. With no easy meals lying around waiting for them anymore, Komodos might have moved to hunting an easier kind of prey: People.
Not so fast, say representatives of the Nature Conservancy—the real reason for the dragon aggression is that too many people live in the area now, and they’ve pushed so far into the park that there’s no way to keep the dragons out of their villages. The idea that animal sacrifices were keeping the Komodos at bay, they say, is just superstition.
Still, that’s not likely to soothe the father of the boy killed last year: He blames the hunting ban, and not the dragons themselves, for his son’s death.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Markofjohnson