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Australia Zoo’s Mission to Save the Dragon

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Australia Zoo has made significant progress in its effort to protect and preserve wildlife by breeding endangered species, and welcomed its latest visitor on a breeding exchange program, Naga, a Komodo dragon.

Komodo dragons, the world's largest species of lizard, are apex predators found in the Indonesian Islands of Rinca, Flores and Komodo Island.

Naga is an adult male Komodo dragon who was imported from Prague Zoo along with his male sibling Gili, and five other juvenile dragons as part of the regional breeding program of the Australasian Species Management Program (ASMP).

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Gili is a healthy Komodo dragon living at Australia Zoo, but unfortunately did not display promising behaviour during initial reproductive introductions towards the zoo's female adult Komodo dragon, Indah.

Australia Zoo temporarily swapped Gili with Naga, a Komodo dragon from Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo in Childers to study his behaviour towards Indah and see if he is a better fit.

Establishing an insurance population of healthy, captive Komodo dragons is essential to the species' conservation.

"It is not breeding season until next winter, however, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce Indah to Naga in the hope that they will become familiar and Indah will be more receptive for mating when the time comes," said Nick Kuyper, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians at Australia Zoo.

"Our primary focus is ensuring the reproductive health of Indah and it is very important that she starts to lay healthy clutches of eggs, chances of which can be increased by exposing her to a male dragon." he said.

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Breeding endangered or vulnerable species is one of Australia Zoo's many established programs for educating and engaging people about giving wildlife the greatest chance of survival, others including priority species breeding, field studies, habitat acquisition, wildlife rescue and documentaries.

Indah has also recently been an integral part of a scientific study investigating the speed, muscle power and posture of the extinct Megalania prisca, a 600kg goanna. Robert Irwin has passionately been involved in this project, alongside Dr. Christofer Clemente of University of Sunshine Coast and Dr. Taylor Dick of University of Queensland.

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Preserving the survival of this vulnerable species is especially important due to growing threats of habitat destruction, poaching and natural calamities, all of which can drastically reduce their chances of survival.

For more information visit: Australia Zoo