By: Dylan Sortillo
Komodo Dragons are an endangered species humans did not even know about until 100 years ago. Reaching an astounding 10 feet in length and up to 300 pounds, they are the biggest lizard species ever. They have long, flat heads with rounded snouts, a scaly like skin, bowed legs, and giant, muscular tails. Komodo Dragons are usually the most dominant predators on the island they inhabit so they will eat anything like carrion, deer, pigs, water buffalo, and sometimes humans. To catch its prey, the dragons rely on their unique adaptions of camoflouge, patience, and bacteria in its mouth that kills animals within 24 hours. The creatures lives on the islands of Komodo, Gila Motang, Rinca, and Flores. The dragons seem to be in stable condition as about 3000-5000 exist to this day. The komodo dragons share a common ancestor with dinasaurs but do not descend from them. Fossils show they seperated into their own species about 4 million years ago.
komodo dragon eat pig
The main threats to Komodo Dragons are poaching and habitat loss. The animal only lives on few islands and these islands are being modified by humans because they are poaching the deer and other Komodo Dragon prey. The humans have also been clearing coastal forests and poaching the existing population. On the island of Flores alone habitat loss has already caused the loss of the Komodo dragons species over a 150 kilometer long area along the northwest coast. Therefore the humans are responsible for killing off these creatures through poaching and habitat loss.
Current Conservation Efforts
To conserve the dwindling species many things are trying to be done. In 1980 the Komodo National Park was established to protect the animals and their habitat. As mentioned before, the island of Flores is home to many dragons. The people and the Indonesian Department of Forestry have seen an extreme decline in the animal so they began a project to help them. The European zoos who keep dragons in captivity funded the project in which shows people their infrastructural development, social awareness and enviromental education programs, warden patrols and legislative enforcement, and coordinate annual dragon population cenus. There has been no extreme laws put into place yet but further protection is being put into place.
The Komodo Dragon plays a huge impact on everything. It is the leader of its food chain, therefore, if they were to go extinct, everything they once ate like pigs, deer, and buffalo would overpopulate and eat all the plants and other food. They can affect the economy because people buy and sell them for zoos and kill them for fun and money. To help, we can stop poaching these animals and destroying their habitats and instead leave them alone at let the food chain work its self out.