Coral, Fish, and Dragons!
Exploring Komodo National Park is one of those experiences that is difficult, if not impossible, to explain to someone who hasn’t been there. The geologically young, volcanic islands seem almost out of place in the midst of Indonesia. The islands’ arid, golden slopes, which harbor little more than grass and shrubs, belie the enormous biological diversity concealed in the surrounding waters. Protected from commercial fishing, the park is a refuge for vast numbers of reef fish and, of course, their associated habitats of coral, seagrass, and mangrove. Fields of hard and soft corals stretch across the shallows of northern Komodo while cold, upwelling waters enrich the vibrant reefs the grow on the southern parts of the park. Terrestrially, one of the multitude of highlights within the park is the ability to intimately view Komodo dragons, the largest lizards currently living on Earth. Relatively new research has revealed the dragons have originally evolved on Australia and to be one of the only lizards on Earth to utilize venom as an offensive weapon. Whatever its biological aspects and evolutionary history, it is easy to admire the Komodo dragon as one of the most impressive predators on the planet.