Four new dragons for St. George
Wednesday 26 April 2006
ZSL is delighted to announce the arrival of four baby Komodo dragons. The dragons, that are vulnerable in the wild, recently hatched at ZSL London Zoo and are currently about 50cm long from nose to tail.
The babies are the result of a collaboration between ZSL London Zoo and Thoiry Zoo, France, and although the eggs were laid here in London, Raja the male Komodo dragon at London Zoo is not the father!
It is believed that Sungaï, who arrived at London in early 2005 on loan from Thoiry Zoo, mated with a male there in 2003, and has since carried the sperm in her reproductive tract for over two years!
On deciding the conditions were right here in London’s dedicated dragon facility, Sungaï self-fertilised with the stored sperm and laid the eggs in August 2005. Seven and a half months later, four relatively tiny dragonlets emerged from their leathery eggs.
Richard Gibson, Curator of Herpetology at ZSL, said:
'We are absolutely thrilled with the arrival of these baby Komodo dragons - a first in mainland Europe, and a perfect example of the value of inter-zoo cooperation for international conservation breeding.
Like all the adult dragons in captivity, these babies are part of a European programme which raises awareness about Komodo dragons and generates financial support for the conservation of these incredible lizards in the wild in Indonesia.'
Baby dragons live mostly in trees for first 2-4 years of their life to avoid being eaten by larger dragons, however they mature to the largest living lizard, measuring up to 3m and weighing in at 100kg.