DENPASAR, BALI, INDONESIA: Komodo National Park has been officially inaugurated as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The colourful ceremony was attended by the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono; the former vice president of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, the Founder-President of New7Wonders, Bernard Weber, members of the Indonesian government, including the Minister of Forestry, Zulkifli Hasan, the Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Frans Lebu Raya, and delegations from the New7Wonders of Nature host countries.
Komodo National Park is home to the famed Komodo dragon, which is the largest lizard on Earth. Reaching three metres in length and weighing up to 140 kilogrammes, Komodo dragons have lived in Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands for millions of years.
New7Wonders Official Inauguration of Komodo
After the unveiling of a specially-commissioned plaque to mark the addition of Komodo National Park to the New7Wonders of Nature list, Bernard Weber reminded the attendees that New7Wonders is a unique iniative that involves and engages people around the world. “It’s about us, together, as a human race, making a bond while creating Global Memory, and Komodo now is part of Global Memory,” he said.
In his remarks, President Yudhoyono praised those involved in the Komodo campaign. “The inauguration is only a beginning,” he said. “Let’s continue our fruitful works.” Jusuf Kalla said he hoped the island’s popularity would encourage the government to improve the infrastructure of the region. “We are all doing our best to turn Komodo into a good tourism destination,” he said.
The inclusion of Komodo National Park in the New7Wonders of Nature “canon of 7” has seen increasing numbers of domestic and foreign visitors arrive in the town of Labuan Bajo, the entry point to Komodo Island, and Komodo Airport runway has been extended from 1,850 meters to 2,150 meters to allow large-bodied aircraft to land there.