Komodo dragon


Komodo dragon hatching from egg. Source: Arkive.org

Komodo dragon hatching from egg. Source: Arkive.org

The Komodo dragon (scientific name: Varanus komodoensis) is found on the island of Komodo in Indonesia and also on the neighbouring islands of Rinca and Flores. It is classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and listed on Appendix I of CITES.

Komodo dragon gaping

Komodo dragon gaping. Source: Arkive.org

The population of Komodo dragon is threatened by widespread habitat loss throughout the region, a loss of prey species and hunting. The number of Komodo dragon today is estimated to be a mere fraction of its size 50 years ago. No Komodo dragons have been seen on the island of Padar since the 1970s due to the widespread poaching of the deer which is their main prey source .

Since the 1930s, the law in Indonesia has been protecting Komodo dragons and international trade is prohibited by Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Moreover, Komodo and surrounding islands lie within the Komodo National Park which is an area protected by the government. Komodo dragons have become an important tourist attraction, bringing over 18,000 visitors to the Komodo Island each year. As such, it is hoped that this economic incentive will safeguard the existing population of Komodo dragon from further threats.