Komodo National Park, serving up the wonder

It’s official. Komodo National Park has now been named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The title alone makes you ponder what happened to the old seven wonders. Were they not so wonderful anymore? It seems they just weren’t capturing enough of a revenue stream. The New 7 Wonders Foundation cites a study that their first global American-Idol-style voting for the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007 created anĀ “excess of US$ 5 billion worth of tourism, economic and promotional value” for the sites that were selected. Now they’ve given us the New 7 Wonders of Nature, and are in the process of voting for the New 7 Wonders: Cities. But enough about listmakers.

The Jakarta Globe reports an explosion in tourism at Komodo National Park already this year, with local administration planning to build an airport, restaurants, hotels, and probably souvenir shops as well. This is great for humans. Humans like these conveniences. It’s hard to see how it’s equally great for the dragons. Yes, it will bring a slice of that tasty $5B pie to the region, but will the money–even if it’s properly devoted to ensuring the dragons’ survival and prosperity–offset the damage of construction, traffic, and further encroachment into the refuge?