For the similarly-named web browser, see Comodo Dragon
The Komodo dragon ( Varanus komodoensis ), besides known as the Komodo monitor, is a member of the monitor lizard kin Varanidae that is endemic to the indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang. It is the largest extant species of lounge lizard, growing to a utmost length of 3 metres ( 10 foot ), and weighing up to approximately 70 kilograms ( 150 pound ).
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As a resultant role of their size, Komodo dragons are apex predators, and dominate the ecosystems in which they live. Komodo dragons hunt and still-hunt prey including invertebrates, birds, and mammals. It has been claimed that they have a poisonous bite ; there are two glands in the lower jaw that secrete several toxic proteins. The biological significance of these proteins is disputed, but the glands have been shown to secrete an anticoagulant. Komodo dragons ‘ group behavior in hunt is exceeding in the reptile universe. The diet of Komodo dragons chiefly consists of Javan rusa ( Rusa timorensis ), though they besides eat considerable amounts of carrion. Komodo dragons besides occasionally attack humans. Mating begins between May and August, and the eggs are laid in September ; angstrom many as 20 eggs are deposited at a time in an abandon megapode nest or in a self-dug cuddle hole. The eggs are incubated for seven to eight months, hatching in April, when insects are most bountiful. Young Komodo dragons are vulnerable and dwell in trees to avoid predators, such as cannibalistic adults. They take 8 to 9 years to mature and are estimated to live up to 30 years. Komodo dragons were first recorded by western scientists in 1910. Their big size and awful reputation make them popular menagerie exhibits. In the angry, their rate has contracted due to human activities, and is likely to condense foster from the effects of climate variety ; due to this, they are listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List. They are protected under indonesian law, and Komodo National Park was founded in 1980 to aid protective covering efforts .
Skull of a Komodo dragon Komodo dragons were first documented by Europeans in 1910, when rumors of a “ land crocodile ” reached Lieutenant van Steyn van Hensbroek of the Dutch colonial administration. [ 5 ] widespread notoriety came after 1912, when Peter Ouwens, the conductor of the Zoological Museum of Bogor, Java, published a newspaper on the subject after receiving a photograph and a skin from the deputy, angstrom well as two other specimens from a collector. [ 4 ] The foremost two live Komodo dragons to arrive in Europe were exhibited in the Reptile House at London Zoo when it opened in 1927. [ 6 ] Joan Beauchamp Procter made some of the earliest observations of these animals in captivity and she demonstrated their behavior at a Scientific merging of the Zoological Society of London in 1928. [ 7 ] The Komodo dragon was the drive factor for an excursion to Komodo Island by W. Douglas Burden in 1926. After returning with 12 preserve specimens and two alive ones, this expedition provided the inspiration for the 1933 movie King Kong. [ 8 ] It was besides Burden who coined the common mention “ Komodo dragon. ” [ 9 ] Three of his specimens were stuffed and are however on display in the American Museum of Natural History. [ 10 ] The Dutch island administration, realizing the limited number of individuals in the wild, soon outlawed sport hound and heavily limited the number of individuals taken for scientific study. Collecting expeditions grind to a halt with the happening of World War II, not resuming until the 1950s and 1960s, when studies examined the Komodo dragon ‘s feed behavior, reproduction, and body temperature. At around this time, an expedition was planned in which a long-run study of the Komodo dragon would be undertaken. This undertaking was given to the Auffenberg family, who stayed on Komodo Island for 11 months in 1969. During their stay, Walter Auffenberg and his adjunct Putra Sastrawan captured and tagged more than 50 Komodo dragons. [ 11 ] research from the Auffenberg expedition proved to be enormously influential in raising Komodo dragons in captivity. [ 12 ] Research after that of the Auffenberg family has shed more light on the nature of the Komodo dragon, with biologists such as Claudio Ciofi continuing to study the creatures. [ 13 ]
The Komodo dragon, as depicted on the 50 rupiah coin, issued by Indonesia The Komodo dragon is besides sometimes known as the Komodo monitor or the Komodo Island monitor in scientific literature, [ 14 ] although this list is uncommon. To the natives of Komodo Island, it is referred to as ora, buaya darat ( ‘land crocodile ‘ ), or biawak raksasa ( ‘giant admonisher ‘ ). [ 15 ] [ 5 ]
The evolutionary development of the Komodo dragon started with the genus Varanus, which originated in Asia about 40 million years ago and migrated to Australia, where it evolved into giant forms ( the largest of all being the recently extinct Megalania ), helped by the absence of competing placental carnivorans. Around 15 million years ago, a collision between the continental landmasses of Australia and Southeast Asia allowed these larger varanids to move back into what is now the indonesian archipelago, extending their range as far east as the island of Timor. The Komodo dragon is believed to have differentiated from its australian ancestors about 4 million years ago. however, late dodo evidence from Queensland suggests the Komodo dragon actually evolved in Australia, before spreading to Indonesia. [ 1 ] [ 16 ] dramatic lower of sea level during the last frigid menstruation uncovered extensive stretches of continental shelf that the Komodo draco colonised, becoming isolated in their show island range as sea levels rose afterwards. [ 1 ] [ 5 ] Fossils of extinct Pliocene species of exchangeable size to the modern Komodo dragon, such as Varanus sivalensis, have been found in Eurasia american samoa well, indicating that they fared well even in environments containing contest, such as mammalian carnivores, until the climate change and extinction events that marked the begin of the Pleistocene. [ 1 ] genic analysis of mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid shows the Komodo dragon to be the closest relative ( sister taxonomic group ) of the lace proctor ( V. varius ), with their common ancestor diverging from a lineage that gave emanation to the crocodile monitor ( Varanus salvadorii ) of New Guinea. [ 17 ] [ 18 ] [ 19 ] A 2021 study showed that during the Miocene, Komodo dragons had hybridized with the ancestors of the australian sand monitor ( V. gouldii ), thus providing further attest that the Komodo dragon had once inhabited Australia. [ 20 ] [ 21 ] [ 22 ] familial analysis indicates that the population from northern Flores is genetically distinct from other populations of the species. [ 23 ]
Specimen in profile In the raving mad, adult Komodo dragons normally weigh around 70 kilogram ( 150 pound ), although captive specimens much weigh more. [ 24 ] According to Guinness World Records, an average adult male will weigh 79 to 91 kg ( 174 to 201 pound ) and measure 2.59 molarity ( 8.5 foot ), while an average female will weigh 68 to 73 kg ( 150 to 161 pound ) and measure 2.29 thousand ( 7.5 foot ). [ 25 ] The largest affirm specimen in prisoner was 3.13 molarity ( 10.3 foot ) hanker and weighed 166 kilogram ( 366 pound ), including its undigested food. [ 5 ] The largest wild specimen had a duration 3.04 meter ( 10.0 foot ), a snout-vent distance ( SVL ) 1.54 molarity ( 5 foot 1 in ) and a mass of 81.5 kg ( 180 pound ) excluding stomach contents. [ 26 ] [ 27 ] The heaviest reached a mass in 89.8 kilogram ( 198 pound ). [ 26 ] The cogitation noted that weights greater than 100 kilogram ( 220 pound ) were possible but only after the animal had consumed a big meal. [ 26 ] [ 27 ] closeup of the bark The Komodo dragon has a tail ampere long as its body, vitamin a well as about 60 frequently replaced, serrated teeth that can measure up to 2.5 curium ( 1 in ) in length. Its saliva is frequently blood-tinged because its teeth are about wholly covered by gingival tissue that is naturally lacerated during feeding. [ 28 ] It besides has a farseeing, scandalmongering, profoundly fork clapper. [ 5 ] Komodo dragon skin is reinforced by armored scales, which contain bantam bones called osteoderms that function as a sort of natural chain-mail. [ 29 ] [ 30 ] The lone areas lacking osteoderms on the head of the pornographic Komodo draco are around the eyes, nostrils, mouth margins, and pineal center, a light-sensing organ on the lead of the head. Where lizards typically have one or two varying patterns or shapes of osteoderms, komodos have four : rosette, platy, dendritic, and vermiform. [ 31 ] This rugged shroud makes Komodo dragon skin a poor people source of leather. additionally, these osteoderms become more extensive and variable in shape as the Komodo dragon ages, ossifying more extensively as the lizard grows. These osteoderms are lacking in hatchlings and juveniles, indicating that the natural armor develops as a product of age and contest between adults for auspices in intraspecies combat over food and mates. [ 32 ]
Komodo dragon using its tongue to sample the air As with other varanids, Komodo dragons have only a unmarried ear bone, the stapes, for transferring vibrations from the tympanic membrane to the cochlea. This arrangement means they are likely restricted to sounds in the 400 to 2,000 hertz range, compared to humans who hear between 20 and 20,000 hertz. [ 5 ] [ 33 ] They were once thought to be deaf when a survey reported no agitation in barbarian Komodo dragons in reception to whispers, raised voices, or shouts. This was disputed when London Zoological Garden employee Joan Procter trained a captive specimen to come out to feed at the sound of her articulation, flush when she could not be seen. [ 34 ] The Komodo draco can see objects as far away as 300 thousand ( 980 foot ), but because its retinas entirely contain cones, it is thought to have poor night vision. It can distinguish colours, but has poor people ocular discrimination of stationary objects. [ 35 ] As with many other reptiles, the Komodo dragon chiefly relies on its tongue to detect, taste, and smack stimulation, with the vomeronasal smell using the Jacobson ‘s organ, preferably than using the nostrils. [ 36 ] With the help of a favorable fart and its habit of swinging its head from side to side as it walks, a Komodo dragon may be able to detect carrion from 4–9.5 km ( 2.5–5.9 michigan ) away. [ 35 ] It merely has a few taste buds in the back of its throat. [ 36 ] Its scales, some of which are reinforced with bone, have centripetal plaques connected to nerves to facilitate its sense of touch. The scales around the ears, lips, kuki, and soles of the feet may have three or more centripetal plaques. [ 28 ]
Behaviour and ecology
male komodo dragons fighting The Komodo dragon prefers hot and dry places and typically lives in dry, open grassland, savanna, and tropical afforest at gloomy elevations. As an poikilotherm, it is most active in the day, although it exhibits some nocturnal natural process. Komodo dragons are alone, coming together merely to breed and eat. They are capable of running quickly in brief sprints up to 20 km/h ( 12 miles per hour ), diving up to 4.5 megabyte ( 15 foot ), and climbing trees proficiently when young through use of their strong claw. [ 24 ] To catch out-of-reach prey, the Komodo dragon may stand on its back leg and use its fag end as a support. [ 34 ] As it matures, its claws are used primarily as weapons, as its great size makes climbing impractical. [ 28 ] For protection, the Komodo dragon digs holes that can measure from 1 to 3 meter ( 3.3 to 9.8 foot ) broad with its mighty forelimbs and claws. [ 37 ] Because of its big size and habit of sleeping in these burrows, it is able to conserve body heat throughout the night and minimise its bask period the dawn after. [ 38 ] The Komodo dragon hunts in the good afternoon, but stays in the shade during the hottest part of the sidereal day. [ 9 ] These special perch places, normally located on ridges with aplomb sea breezes, are marked with droppings and are cleared of vegetation. They serve as strategic locations from which to ambush deer. [ 39 ]
Komodo dragon on Rinca feeding on a water american bison cadaver Komodo dragons are vertex predators. [ 40 ] They are carnivores ; although they have been considered as eating by and large carrion, [ 41 ] they will frequently ambush know prey with a furtive border on. When desirable prey arrives near a dragon ‘s ambush site, it will suddenly charge at the animal at high speeds and go for the bottom or the throat. [ 28 ] Komodo dragons do not measuredly allow the prey to escape with fatal injuries but try to kill prey outright using a combination of lacerating damage and rake loss. They have been recorded as killing crazy pigs within seconds, [ 42 ] and observations of Komodo dragons tracking prey for farseeing distances are probably misread cases of prey escaping an attack before succumbing to infection. Komodo dragons eat by tearing large chunks of human body and swallowing them whole while holding the carcase down with their forelegs. For smaller raven up to the size of a capricorn, their broadly articulated jaw, flexible skulls, and expandable stomachs allow them to swallow prey whole. The undigested vegetable contents of a raven animal ‘s abdomen and intestines are typically avoided. [ 39 ] Copious amounts of loss saliva the Komodo dragons produce avail to lubricate the food, but swallow is still a long march ( 15–20 minutes to swallow a goat ). A Komodo dragon may attempt to speed up the summons by ramming the carcase against a tree to force it down its throat, sometimes ramming so forcefully that the tree is knocked down. [ 39 ] A small pipe under the tongue that connects to the lungs allows it to breathe while swallowing. [ 28 ] After eating up to 80 % of its body weight in one meal, [ 40 ] it drags itself to a cheery placement to speed digestion, as the food could rot and poison the dragon if left undigested in its digest for excessively long. Because of their slow metabolism, boastfully dragons can survive on deoxyadenosine monophosphate few as 12 meals a year. [ 28 ] After digestion, the Komodo draco regurgitates a bulk of horns, hair, and tooth known as the gastric shot, which is covered in malodorous mucus. After regurgitating the gastric pellet, it rubs its face in the dirt or on bushes to get rid of the mucus, suggesting it does not relish the scent of its own excretions. [ 28 ]
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Komodo body waste has a dark fortune, which is stool, and a whitish dowry, which is urate, the nitrogenous end-product of their digestion process The eating habits of Komodo dragons follow a hierarchy, with the larger animals broadly eating before the smaller ones. The largest male typically asserts his laterality and the smaller males show their submission by use of body lyric and rumble hisses. Dragons of peer size may resort to “ wrestle. ” Losers normally retreat, though they have been known to be killed and eaten by victors. [ 43 ] [ 44 ] The Komodo dragon ‘s diet is varied, and includes invertebrates, other reptiles ( including smaller Komodo dragons ), birds, shuttlecock eggs, little mammals, monkeys, wild boar, goats, deer, horses, and water buffalo. [ 45 ] Young Komodos will eat insects, eggs, gecko, and humble mammals, while adults prefer to hunt big mammals. [ 41 ] Occasionally, they attack and sting humans. sometimes they consume human corpses, digging up bodies from shoal graves. [ 34 ] This habit of raiding graves caused the villagers of Komodo to move their graves from flaxen to clay ground, and down rocks on circus tent of them, to deter the lizards. [ 39 ] The Komodo dragon may have evolved to feed on the extinct dwarf elephant Stegodon that once lived on Flores, according to evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond. [ 46 ] The Komodo dragon drinks by sucking water into its mouth via buccal pump ( a process besides used for breathing ), lifting its promontory, and letting the water run down its throat. [ 42 ]
Although former studies proposed that Komodo dragon saliva contains a assortment of highly septic bacteria that would help to bring down prey, [ 43 ] [ 47 ] research in 2013 suggested that the bacteria in the mouths of Komodo dragons are ordinary and similar to those found in other carnivores. Komodo dragons have estimable mouth hygiene. To quote Bryan Fry : “ After they are done eating, they will spend 10 to 15 minutes lip-licking and rubbing their fountainhead in the leaves to clean their sass … Unlike people have been led to believe, they do not have chunks of rotting human body from their meals on their teeth, cultivating bacteria. ” Nor do Komodo dragons wait for prey to die and track it at a distance, as vipers do ; observations of them hunting deer, boar and in some cases buffalo reveal that they kill prey in less than half an hour. [ 48 ] The notice of prey dying of sepsis would then be explained by the natural instinct of water old world buffalo, who are not native to the islands where the Komodo dragon lives, to run into water after escaping an attack. The warm, faeces-filled water would then cause the infections. The analyze used samples from 16 captive dragons ( 10 adults and six neonates ) from three US zoos. [ 48 ]
Antibacterial immune factor
Researchers have isolated a mighty antibacterial peptide from the blood plasma of Komodo dragons, VK25. Based on their analysis of this peptide, they have synthesized a short-circuit peptide dubbed DRGN-1 and tested it against multidrug-resistant ( MDR ) pathogens. preliminary results of these tests show that DRGN-1 is effective in killing drug-resistant bacterial strains and even some fungi. It has the added observe benefit of importantly promoting wound healing in both uninfected and desegregate biofilm infected wounds. [ 49 ]
In late 2005, researchers at the University of Melbourne speculated the perentie ( Varanus giganteus ), other species of monitors, and agamids may be slightly poisonous. The team believes the immediate effects of bites from these lizards were caused by mild envenomation. Bites on human digits by a lace monitor ( V. varius ), a Komodo dragon, and a spot tree monitor ( V. scalaris ) all produced alike effects : rapid swell, place dislocation of blood curdle, and shooting annoyance astir to the elbow, with some symptoms lasting for several hours. [ 50 ] In 2009, the same researchers published further evidence demonstrating Komodo dragons possess a poisonous bite. MRI scans of a preserved skull showed the presence of two glands in the lower chew. The researchers extracted one of these glands from the head of a terminally ill dragon in the Singapore Zoological Gardens, and found it secreted several different toxic proteins. The know functions of these proteins include inhibition of rake clot, lowering of blood imperativeness, muscle paralysis, and the induction of hypothermia, leading to shock and passing of awareness in envenomated raven. [ 51 ] [ 52 ] As a leave of the discovery, the previous theory that bacteria were creditworthy for the deaths of Komodo victims was disputed. [ 53 ] early scientists have stated that this allegation of malice glands “ has had the effect of underestimating the variety of complex roles played by oral secretions in the biology of reptiles, produced a very narrow watch of oral secretions and resulted in misinterpretation of reptilian development. ” According to these scientists “ reptilian oral secretions contribute to many biological roles other than to quickly dispatch raven. ” These researchers concluded that, “ Calling all in this clade deadly implies an overall likely danger that does not exist, misleads in the assessment of aesculapian risks, and confuses the biological assessment of squamate biochemical systems. ” [ 54 ] Evolutionary biologist Schwenk says that evening if the lizards have venom-like proteins in their mouths they may be using them for a unlike affair, and he doubts venom is necessary to explain the effect of a Komodo dragon bite, arguing that shock and blood loss are the primary factors. [ 55 ] [ 56 ]
Komodo dragons mating Mating occurs between May and August, with the eggs laid in September. [ 5 ] [ 57 ] During this time period, males fight over females and district by grappling with one another upon their back legs, with the loser finally being pinned to the grind. These males may vomit or defecate when preparing for the contend. [ 34 ] The achiever of the contend will then flick his retentive tongue at the female to gain information about her receptiveness. [ 40 ] Females are antagonistic and defy with their claws and teeth during the early phases of courtship. consequently, the male must in full restrain the female during sexual intercourse to avoid being hurt. early courtship displays include males rubbing their chins on the female, arduous scratches to the back, and licking. [ 58 ] Copulation occurs when the male inserts one of his hemipenes into the female ‘s sewer. [ 35 ] Komodo dragons may be monogamous and form “ pair bonds, ” a rare behavior for lizards. [ 34 ] Female Komodos lay their eggs from August to September and may use several types of vicinity ; in one cogitation, 60 % laid their eggs in the nests of orange-footed scrubfowl ( a moundbuilder or megapode ), 20 % on grind level and 20 % in cragged areas. [ 59 ] The females make many camouflage nests/holes to prevent other dragons from eating the eggs. [ 60 ] Clutches contain an average of 20 eggs, which have an brooding menstruation of 7–8 months. [ 34 ] Hatching is an run down feat for the neonates, which break out of their eggshells with an egg tooth that falls off before long. After cutting themselves out, the hatchlings may lie in their eggshells for hours before starting to dig out of the nest. They are born quite defenseless and are vulnerable to depredation. [ 43 ] Sixteen youngsters from a unmarried nest were on average 46.5 centimeter long and weighed 105.1 grams. [ 59 ] Young Komodo dragons spend much of their first few years in trees, where they are relatively condom from predators, including cannibalistic adults, as adolescent dragons make up 10 % of their diets. [ 34 ] The habit of cannibalism may be advantageous in sustaining the big size of adults, as medium-sized prey on the islands is rare. [ 61 ] When the young approach a toss off, they roll approximately in faecal matter and rest in the intestines of disembowel animals to deter these hungry adults. [ 34 ] Komodo dragons take approximately 8 to 9 years to mature, and may live for up to 30 years. [ 57 ]
A Komodo dragon at London Zoo named Sungai laid a seize of eggs in late 2005 after being separated from a male company for more than two years. Scientists initially assumed she had been able to store sperm from her earlier find with a male, an adaptation known as superfecundation. [ 62 ] On 20 December 2006, it was reported that Flora, a captive Komodo draco survive in the Chester Zoo in England, was the second known Komodo dragon to have laid unfertilized eggs : she laid 11 eggs, and seven of them hatched, all of them male. [ 63 ] Scientists at Liverpool University in England performed genic tests on three eggs that collapsed after being moved to an incubator, and verified Flora had never been in physical contact with a male dragon. After Flora ‘s eggs ‘ condition had been discovered, testing showed Sungai ‘s eggs were besides produced without away fertilization. [ 64 ] On 31 January 2008, the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, became the beginning menagerie in the Americas to document parthenogenesis in Komodo dragons. The menagerie has two pornographic female Komodo dragons, one of which laid about 17 eggs on 19–20 May 2007. only two eggs were incubated and hatched due to space issues ; the first hatched on 31 January 2008, while the moment hatched on 1 February. Both hatchlings were males. [ 65 ] [ 66 ] Komodo dragons have the ZW chromosomal sex-determination organization, as opposed to the mammal XY arrangement. Male offspring prove Flora ‘s unfertilized eggs were haploid ( n ) and doubled their chromosomes late to become diploid ( 2n ) ( by being fertilized by a polar consistency, or by chromosome duplicate without cell class ), rather than by her laying diploid eggs by one of the litotes reduction-divisions in her ovaries failing. When a female Komodo draco ( with ZW sex chromosomes ) reproduces in this manner, she provides her offspring with only one chromosome from each of her pairs of chromosomes, including only one of her two sex chromosomes. This single set of chromosomes is duplicated in the egg, which develops parthenogenetically. Eggs receiving a Z chromosome become ZZ ( male ) ; those receiving a W chromosome become WW and fail to develop, [ 67 ] [ 68 ] meaning that only males are produced by parthenogenesis in this species. It has been hypothesised that this generative adaptation allows a unmarried female to enter an isolate ecological recess ( such as an island ) and by parthenogenesis produce male young, thereby establishing a sexually reproducing population ( via reproduction with her offspring that can result in both male and female young ). [ 67 ] Despite the advantages of such an adaptation, zoos are cautioned that parthenogenesis may be damaging to familial diversity. [ 69 ]
Incidents with humans
Humans handling a komodo draco Attacks on humans are rare, but Komodo dragons have been responsible for several human fatalities, in both the violent and in captivity. According to data from Komodo National Park spanning a 38-year period between 1974 and 2012, there were 24 reported attacks on humans, five of them fatal. Most of the victims were local villagers living around the national ballpark. [ 70 ] Reports of attacks include : [ 71 ]
- 1974: A visiting Swiss tourist, Baron Rudolf von Reding von Biberegg, who disappeared on Komodo Island, may have been killed and eaten by Komodo dragons.
- 2001: A Komodo dragon attacked Phil Bronstein, an investigative journalist and former husband of actress Sharon Stone, in the Los Angeles Zoo.
- 2007: An 8-year-old boy on Komodo Island died from his injuries after being attacked by one.
- 2008: A group of five scuba divers were stranded on the beach of Rinca Island, and were attacked by Komodo dragons. After two days, the divers’ ordeal ended when they were picked up by an Indonesian rescue boat.
- 2009: a 31-year-old Komodo Island local died from his injuries later after being attacked by two dragons. He had fallen from a tree while he was picking sugar apples.
- 2009: Maen, a national park guide stationed on Rinca Island, was ambushed and bitten by a Komodo dragon that had walked into his office and lay under his desk. Despite suffering some injuries, the guide survived.
- May 2017: Lon Lee Alle, a 50-year-old Singaporean tourist (or Loh Lee Aik, said to be 68), was attacked by a Komodo dragon on Komodo Island. The victim survived the attack, but his left leg was severely injured.
- November 2017: Yosef Paska, a local construction worker, was attacked on Rinca Island and taken to Labuan Bajo by speedboat for treatment.
The Komodo dragon is classified by the IUCN as Endangered and is listed on the IUCN Red List. [ 2 ] The species ‘ sensitivity to natural and man-made threats has long been recognized by conservationists, zoological societies, and the indonesian government. Komodo National Park was founded in 1980 to protect Komodo dragon populations on islands including Komodo, Rinca, and Padar. [ 76 ] Later, the Wae Wuul and Wolo Tado Reserves were opened on Flores to aid Komodo dragon conservation. [ 13 ] Komodo dragons generally avoid encounters with humans. Juveniles are very shy and will flee promptly into a hideout if a homo comes closer than about 100 metres ( 330 foot ). Older animals will besides retreat from humans from a shorter outdistance away. If cornered, they may react aggressively by gaping their mouth, hiss, and swinging their fag end. If they are disturbed further, they may attack and bite. Although there are anecdotes of motiveless Komodo dragons attacking or preying on humans, most of these reports are either not reputable or have subsequently been interpreted as defensive bites. only very few cases are truly the consequence of motiveless attacks by atypical individuals who lost their fear of humans. [ 43 ] volcanic bodily process, earthquakes, personnel casualty of habitat, ardor, [ 28 ] [ 13 ] tourism, loss of prey due to poaching, and illegal poach of the dragons themselves have all contributed to the vulnerable status of the Komodo draco. A major future menace to the species is climate change via both aridification and ocean level rise, which can affect the low-lying habitats and valleys that the Komodo dragon depends on, as Komodo dragons do not range into the higher-altitude regions of the islands they inhabit. Based on projections, climate variety will lead to a worsen in suitable habitat of 8.4 %, 30.2 %, or 71 % by 2050 depending on the climate change scenario. Without effective conservation actions, populations on Flores are extirpated in all scenarios, while in the more extreme scenarios, alone the populations on Komodo and Rinca persist in highly reduce numbers. rapid climate change extenuation is all-important for conserving the species in the wild. [ 23 ] [ 77 ] other scientists have disputed the conclusions about the effects of climate change on Komodo draco populations. [ 78 ] Under Appendix I of CITES ( the convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ), commercial international trade of Komodo dragon skins or specimens is prohibited. [ 79 ] [ 80 ] Despite this, there are occasional reports of illegal attempts to trade in live Komodo dragons. The most holocene undertake was in March 2019, when indonesian police in the East Java city of Surabaya reported that a criminal network had been caught trying to smuggle 41 young Komodo dragons out of Indonesia. The plan was said to include shipping the animals to respective other countries in Southeast Asia through Singapore. It was hoped that the animals could be sold for up to 500 million rupiah ( around US $ 35,000 ) each. [ 81 ] It was believed that the Komodo dragons had been smuggled out of East Nusa Tenggara state through the port at Ende in central Flores. [ 82 ] In 2013, the sum population of Komodo dragons in the raving mad was assessed as 3,222 individuals, declining to 3,092 in 2014 and 3,014 in 2015. Populations remained relatively stable on the bigger islands ( Komodo and Rinca ), but decreased on smaller islands, such as Nusa Kode and Gili Motang, likely due to diminishing prey handiness. [ 83 ] On Padar, a former population of Komodo dragons has recently become extinct, of which the last individuals were seen in 1975. [ 84 ] It is wide assumed that the Komodo dragon died out on Padar following a major decline of populations of large ungulate prey, for which poach was most likely creditworthy. [ 85 ]
Komodo dragons have hanker been sought menagerie attractions, where their size and reputation make them democratic exhibits. They are, however, rare in menagerie because they are susceptible to infection and epenthetic disease if captured from the fantastic, and do not promptly reproduce in enslavement. [ 15 ] The first Komodo dragons were displayed at London Zoo in 1927. A Komodo draco was exhibited in 1934 in the United States at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., but it lived for merely two years. More attempts to exhibit Komodo dragons were made, but the life of the animals proved identical brusque, averaging five years in the National Zoological Park. Studies were done by Walter Auffenberg, which were documented in his reserve The Behavioral Ecology of the Komodo Monitor, finally allowed for more successful management and breeding of the dragons in enslavement. [ 12 ] As of May 2009, there were 35 north american, 13 european, one Singaporean, two African, and two australian institutions which housed captive Komodo dragons. [ 86 ] A variety show of behaviors have been observed from captive specimens. Most individuals become relatively meek within a short time, [ 87 ] [ 88 ] and are able of recognising individual humans and discriminating between conversant and unfamiliar keepers. [ 89 ] Komodo dragons have besides been observed to engage in play with a assortment of objects, including shovels, cans, plastic rings, and shoes. This behavior does not seem to be “ food-motivated predatory behavior. ” [ 40 ] [ 5 ] [ 90 ] even apparently docile dragons may become erratically aggressive, specially when the animal ‘s territory is invaded by person unfamiliar. In June 2001, a Komodo dragon badly hurt Phil Bronstein, the then-husband of actress Sharon Stone, when he entered its enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo after being invited in by its keeper. Bronstein was bitten on his bare foot, as the custodian had told him to take off his white shoes and socks, which the keeper stated could potentially excite the Komodo draco as they were the like color as the white rats the menagerie fed the dragon. [ 91 ] [ 92 ] Although he survived, Bronstein needed to have several tendons in his foot reattached surgically. [ 93 ]
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