The Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest lizard, only occurs on five very small Indonesian islands: Komodo, Rinca, Gili Motang, Nusas Kode and Flores in the Lesser Sunda region. Over the last three decades the range and population of the Komodo Dragon has significantly decreased. Komodo National Park (KNP) was established to protect the Komodo Dragon, its habitat and the surrounding ecosystems. It was designated an international Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and a World Heritage Site in 1991. The park covers 173,300 hectares, within which the Komodo Dragon population is estimated at less than 3,000 individuals.
In 2012 Taronga commenced a partnership with the Komodo Survival Program (KSP) an Indonesian-based not-for-profit organisation. KSP work to protect and conserve the Komodo Dragon, its habitat, and the food web upon which it relies. As well as tracking dragons and monitoring prey species abundance, KSP involves communities in protecting the environment through training local staff to conduct monitoring and research activities. KSP is expanding their community conservation initiatives, with support from Taronga, to include community awareness programs, habitat patrols, and establishing alternative livestock management practices to reduce conflict between people and Komodo Dragons.