Bronx Zoo Opens Komodo Dragon Exhibit
Posted on May 26, 2014
The Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo has opened an exhibit called "Amazing Minotors," which features three adolescent Komodo dragons. Komodo dragons are native to the eastern Indonesian islands of Komodo, Flores, Rinca, Padar, Gili Motang, and Nusa Kode. They are the largest living species of lizard and can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh up to 360 pounds. Komodos eat mammals, reptiles, birds, and eggs.
The giant lizards have bacteria and venom in their saliva. Prey bitten by a Komodo dragon often die within a few days. The lizards can track their bitten, dying prey for up to six miles using their highly developed sense of smell.
Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President and Director of the Bronx Zoo, says in a statement, "Komodo dragons are one of nature's most amazing creatures. They are the top predator in the environment in which they live. By introducing visitors to Komodo dragons and the challenges they are facing in the wild, we hope people will take on an appreciation for this uniquely adapted species. Perhaps we will even inspire the career of the next great herpetologist or conservation scientist to work in Indonesia to help save the remaining wild dragon."
The WCS says there are estimated to be under 2,500 Komodo dragons remaining in the wild. About 350 of these are breeding females. They are classified as "Vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).