Komodo dragon: Only 4,000 specimens remain in the wild



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Komodo dragon: Only 4,000 specimens remain in the wild

The Komodo dragon is at risk of extinction and in nature there are only 4000 specimens left. And we are talking about a species that dates back to ninety million years ago. The Komodo dragon can reach 3 meters in length and exceed 80 kilos in weight, killing prey three times its size.

But what are the causes that are leading him to the abyss? Obviously they are all caused by man: wild deforestation, lack of prey, habitats at risk due to mass tourism, global warming and the consequent rise in sea levels.

The Komodo dragon in the wild lives on five islands in the Indian Ocean and Indonesia. The Indonesian government had even thought of closing the Komodo Park to tourism. However, the proposal was declined due to protests due to the repercussions that the measure would have had on the local economy.

To enter the park it will be necessary to take out an annual subscription worth 1000 dollars. The Komodo dragon is endangered and placed on the IUCN Red List. The species is considered endangered, since only 350 females can reproduce.

To safeguard the dragon, the Komodo National Park was established in 1980, including Rinca and Padar as well as the island of the same name. Subsequently, the Wae Wuul and Wolo Tado reserves were established in Flores. The Komodo dragon tends to avoid encounters with humans.

Juveniles are very shy and quickly flee to their shelters as soon as a person approaches less than 100m away. The older ones, however, allow themselves to be approached a little more. When cornered, they become very aggressive, gaping, hissing and whipping the ground with their tail.

In case the attacker does not move away, the dragon can attack and bite. While there are various accounts of Komodo dragons attacking or devouring humans without being provoked, most of these accounts are fictional or at most involve specimens they attacked to defend themselves.

There are very few cases of attacks by unprovoked dragons, aberrant specimens that had lost their natural fear of man. Volcanic activity, earthquakes, deforestation, fires, dwindling prey, tourism and poaching make the conditions of the Komodo dragon vulnerable.

CITES Appendix I prohibits the trade in skins or live specimens of this species. The dragon population that once lived on Padar has now disappeared since 1975. Their disappearance from the island is believed to be due to the decline of large ungulates, which in turn was caused by poaching.