(CNN) — Indonesia has canceled plans to close its popular Komodo Island for tourists, but will instead impose a limit on the number of visitors to protect its native giant lizard.
“Komodo Island will not be closed,” he said. “A restriction will be placed on the number of tourists to Komodo island by rearranging its ticketing system.”
According to Antara’s report, a two-tier membership system will be implemented. Only those with a premium membership will be permitted to land on Komodo island to see the dragons, while others will be directed to other nearby islands. The Indonesian tourism ministry has yet to announce the quota or price under the system.
Located in southern Indonesia, the Komodo Island is a famous tourist spot that attracted some 180,000 tourists last year.
Komodo island, located in southern Indonesia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its “unparalleled terrestrial and marine ecosystems.”
It has grown increasingly popular in recent years and attracted some 180,000 tourists in 2018. It is also home to the namesake Komodo dragons, the world’s largest species of lizard.
Calls for greater wildlife protection has been underway for months, after concerns that the constant stream of visitors have damaged ecosystems and threatened the lives of the giant lizards.
CNN has reached out to Indonesia Tourism for comment.
Here there be dragons
The dragons can grow into an average length of two to three meters, and have a significant scientific value to zoologists due to their evolutionary implications, according to UNESCO. They are also known for their sharp teeth and venomous bites, which allow them to poison and kill their prey.
The Komodo dragon, a giant lizard native to Indonesia, is known for their sharp teeth and venomous bites.
This isn’t the first time southeast Asian countries have announced plans to close natural wonders amidst concerns of damage to ecosystems.
In June 2018, Thailand closed the popular Maya Bay indefinitely to revive the area’s decimated corals and install additional boat jetties. A re-opening date is still yet to be announced.