Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Komodo Dragons: Death at Cincinnati Zoo

The Enquirer at Cincinnati.com reports that Cincinnati Zoo's biggest Komodo Dragon, a nine-foot male by the name of Naga, died Sunday of an abdominal infection. Naga was the father of at least 32 baby Komodo Dragons on display all over the USA.
Naga, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s 24-year-old Komodo dragon, died Sunday of an abdominal infection very much like peritonitis in humans. He was the oldest, largest (9 feet, 160 pounds at death; 200 pounds in his prime) and most prolific Komodo in the Western Hemisphere.

A resident of Cincinnati since 1990, Naga was a gift of the Indonesian government to the first President Bush, who donated him to Cincinnati where a custom-designed enclosure, complete with heated rocks for lizard lounging, was waiting. Cincinnati was the second U.S. zoo to exhibit a Komodo, and the second outside Indonesia to successfully breed them. (Washington’s National Zoo was first on both counts).

Komodo dragons, native to only six Indonesian islands, are an endangered species with 2,000 to 5,000 left in the wild. But they’re well-protected: The Indonesian government considers them a national treasure, and harming them in any way carries severe penalties.
Full story at Cincinnati.com.

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