September 20, 2012
0337 INDONESIA (Lesser Sunda) - Komodo National Park (UNESCO WHS)
The Komodo National Park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991, and also selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, includes three larger islands (Komodo, Padar and Rincah), and 26 smaller ones. The park was initially established to conserve the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), a large species of lizard found in the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar, but later it was expanded to protecting its entire biodiversity, both marine and terrestrial.
Member of the Varanidae family, the Komodo dragon is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of 3m and weighing up to 70kg. Its size has been attributed to the fact that on these islands doesn't live other big carnivorous animals to fill the niche. The diet of this lizard mainly consists of deer, but includes also invertebrates, birds, mammals, and, not rarely, carrion of any kind. Their way to hunt in group (shown by the picture of the postcard) is an exception for the reptile world. Its teeth are almost completely covered by gingival tissue, that is lacerated during feeding, creating an ideal culture for the virulent bacteria from its mouth, so even if the prey escapes after being bitten by the dragon, will die soon due to the infection.
The Komodo dragon is found on the IUCN Red List as a vulnerable species, only 4-5,000 specimens living in the wild, of which just 350 are breeding females. To the vulnerable status of this lizard contributed volcanic activity, earthquakes, loss of habitat, but also loss of prey due to poaching, tourism, and illegal poaching of the dragons themselves. On Padar island, the species became extinct, the last individuals being seen in 1975.
About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the Indonesian Traditional Foods series (3/7, with vignette), about which I wrote here.
The second is part of the Golden Years of Friendship Indonesia-Japan series, a joint issue Japan-Indonesia released on April 15, 2008, and containing 10 stamps with same value (2500 IDR):
• Danau Kelimutu - it's on this postcard
• Mount Fuji
• Caridi Borobudur
• Toji Temple
• Rafflesia arnoldi
• Cherry blossoms
• Angklung - it's on the postcard
• Scleropages formosus
• Nishiki goi
Komodo National Park - Wikipedia
Komodo National Park - UNESCO official site
Komodo dragon - Wikipedia
Komodo dragon - Mampam Conservation
Stamps issued with ID032.08 - UPU official site
sender: Larissa (direct swap)
sent from Bandung (Indonesia), on 23.07.2012
photo: Kal Muller