John Gibbons (202) 673-4840
Sarah Taylor (202) 673-0208
Komodo Dragon Dies at the National Zoo
On the morning of Dec. 25, animal-care staff found that one of the Zoo's Komodo dragons had died overnight in its exhibit at the Reptile Discovery Center. A necropsy performed by the Zoo's pathologist on Saturday showed an acute loss of blood into the abdomen. A growth in an ovary apparently caused a blood vessel to rupture, however, the official cause of death will not be known for several weeks, when all tests are completed and the final pathology report is written.
The 12-year-old female lizard was one of more than a dozen Komodo dragons that hatched at the National Zoo in 1992. The hatchlings made herpetological history then, as the National Zoo was the first place outside of Indonesia to breed Komodo dragons.
The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is the world's largest lizard. The species is listed as vulnerable by IUCN, the World Conservation Union. Its range is limited to a few islands in Indonesia, including Komodo.
Reptile enthusiasts will still be able to visit the Zoo's male Komodo dragon. The National Zoo will likely try to acquire another female Komodo dragon for the reptile collection.
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