The Roger Williams Park Zoo introduces its newest addition: the Komodo Dragon, and “The Rhode Show” gets to see it before anyone else!
Dr. Jeremy Goodman, Executive Director at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, shared lots of fun facts about the Komodo Dragon:
• Only one in New England. Introducing the Komodo dragon to the public today at a press conference at 11 a.m.
• The species is more than four million years old.
• This very large lizard has an interesting personality, and is very intelligent.
• The young female Komodo Dragon joining the Roger Williams Park Zoo family is from the Oglebay Zoo in West Virginia. She is still in her youth, and growing.
• Also known as the Komodo monitor, the animal originates from the Indonesian Islands of Komodo (from which it gets its names). A member of the monitor lizard family Varanidae, it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of three meters or ten feet, and weighing up to approximately 70 kilograms or 150 pounds.
• Solitary animals only coming together to mate. Female Komodo dragons can have virgin births, which means there are some Komodo dragons that do not need a male to fertilize an egg for it to hatch. As a result, Komodo dragons can reproduce through both sexual and asexual reproduction.
He also discussed Endangered Species Day (May 19):
• Many of the animals at Roger Williams Park Zoo are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s critically endangered or endangered species list.
• A critically endangered species, like our red wolf, is in immediate danger of becoming extinct.
• Our Matschie’s Tree kangaroo, on the endangered species list, is indigenous to the rain forests of Australia, West Papua, and Papua New Guinea. The Matschie’s tree kangaroo is endemic to the Huon Peninsula on the northeast coast of Papua New Guinea. Habitat loss and poaching are pushing this species to extinction, and they face a high risk of extinction in the near future.
• If you visit the Marco Polo area of the Zoo two of the species on that trail, the snow leopard and red panda are also on the endangered list. These animals, like the tree kangaroo population are declining due to habitat loss and poaching.