Rinca Island – East Flores – Indonesia


Another island inhabit by the Komodo Dragon is Rinca Island. Even there are now feeding places on the island and spotting the monitor is more a matter of luck and your guide knowledge, but there are much other abundant species: several monkey colonies, wild water buffalos, deer, horses, pigs, bush turkeys and eagles

These islands are composed of a silica-rich rock called rhyolite porphyry. The rhyolite contains large, perfect doubly terminated quartz crystals (lacking the prism faces), some of which are up to a centimeter long. The rhyolite is also rich in magnetite, which weathers out of the rock to form magnetite-rich sand on some of the beaches. In places, silica-rich groundwater has replaced the bedrock with chert. On Rinca, one can see fragments of worked chert lying around near the outcrops. These rocks are geologically distinct from the rocks found on islands to the east and west, which are more mafic in character.

Rincah, also known as Rinca, is a small island near Komodo island, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The island is famous for komodo dragons, giant lizards that can measure up to three meters (ten feet) long. Rincah is also populated with many other species such as wild pigs, buffalos and many birds.

Being less known and less visited than Komodo it is an excellent place to see the Komodo Dragon in its natural environment with fewer people to disturb them. Day trips can be arranged from Labuanbajo on Flores by small boat. Visitors should check in at the park headquarters.
The island’s area is 198 km2.

In June 2008, five scuba divers (three British, one French and one Swedish) were found on the Southern coast of Rincah after having been missing for 2 days. The group had drifted 20 miles (32 km) from where their dive boat abandoned them. They survived on shellfish and oysters

If you want to see the big Komodo dragons, you should get to the park early, before 6:00 a.m. when the first tour starts. Even this early, the island is hot. You should dress lightly, and bring a lot of water. Before the tour starts, you can visit the little museum they have at park headquarters, where you can see an exhibit of the various rock types found on the island, and a display of all their poisonous snakes, of which there are a great many. You can also pet the many deer that hang out at park headquarters. The big dragons don’t come into the park headquarters area, so the deer are safe there. You can also see a lot of the little Komodo dragons, the young ones, who must spend their first several years in trees to be safe from their elders, who would gladly eat them. Komodo dragons are cannibals who eat their own young, and even other adults when they can pull it off.

The tour is led by a couple of men from the park service. The men carry long, forked sticks, but say that their main protection from the dragons is the special rapport they have with them. They tell us that the dragon is called ora locally, and they talk about their habits and behaviors. They used to bring a goat with them to feed to the dragons on the river bank where the lizards gather, but this practice has been discontinued.

The terrestrial fauna is of rather poor diversity in comparison to the marine fauna. The number of terrestrial animal species found in the Park is not high, but the area is important from a conservation perspective as some species are endemic.. Many of the mammals are Asiatic in origin (e.g., deer, pig, macaques, civet). Several of the reptiles and birds are Australian in origin. These include the orange-footed scrubfowl, the lesser sulpher-crested cockatoo and the nosy friarbird.

Reptiles: The most famous of Komodo National Park’s reptiles is the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). It is among the world’s largest reptiles and can reach 3 meters or more in length and weigh over 70kg. To find out more about this fascinating creature click here.

Other than the Komodo Dragon twelve terrestrial snake species are found on the island. including the cobra (Naja naja sputatrix), Russel’s pit viper (Vipera russeli), and the green tree vipers (Trimeresurus albolabris). Lizards include 9 skink species (Scinidae), geckos (Gekkonidae), limbless lizards (Dibamidae), and, of course, the monitor lizards (Varanidae). Frogs include the Asian Bullfrog (Kaloula baleata), Oreophyne jeffersoniana and Oreophyne darewskyi. They are typically found at higher, moister altitudes.

Mammals: Mammals include the Timor deer (Cervus timorensis), the main prey of the Komodo dragon, horses (Equus sp.), water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), wild boar (Sus scrofa vittatus), long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus lehmanni), the endemic Rinca rat (Rattus rintjanus), and fruit bats. One can also find goats, dogs and domestic cats.

Birds: One of the main bird species is the orange-footed scrub fowl (Megapodius reinwardti), a ground dwelling bird. In areas of savanna, 27 species were observed. Geopelia striata and Streptopelia chinensis were the most common species. In mixed deciduous habitat, 28 bird species were observed, and Philemon buceroides, Ducula aenea, and Zosterops chloris were the most common.