According to reports the Komodo Island, known for its Komodo dragon population, is to close for one year.

The Indonesian island is home to the world’s largest lizards and is a popular tourist attraction.

However, government officials will shut off the island to visitors from January 2020 for 12 months, according to local media reports.

The move follows the theft of 41 Komodo dragons by an alleged smuggling ring in March; they were sold abroad for 500 million rupiah (R498 343) each.

During the island’s closure, a conservation programme will attempt to increase the lizard population, which is currently at around 5,000.

Komodo National Park, which comprises the larger islands of Komodo, Padar, and Rinca, plus 26 smaller ones, received 10,250 visitors per month in 2018, 95 percent of whom were foreign tourists.

(c) Instagram

Only Komodo Island will close according to reports – the rest of the Unesco-listed national park is to remain open.

However, after 10 hectares of land were razed by a fire allegedly started by a tossed cigarette last summer, plans are afoot to cap the number of visitors to the park to 5,000 a month.

Once the new regulations are in place, it’s expected that travellers will have to register online before travelling there.

It’s the latest in a long line of places to introduce caps on visitor numbers.

From 1 January, Machu Picchu in Peru has required visitors to select specific time slots and arrive within one hour of them or risk being turned away.

This means that travellers who book for a 10 am time slot need to arrive before 11 am. There’s also a strict four-hour time limit for each visit, plus all tourists must be out by 5.30pm.

The Incan citadel in the Peruvian Andes first introduced ticketing in 2017, after surging tourist numbers prompted Unesco to threaten to put the attraction on its list of world heritage sites in danger.

-Independent