The Phoenix Zoo’s Komodo Dragons

August 12, 2011 No Comments »

Realwonderoftheworld.com - The Phoenix Zoo is one of the largest private non-profit organizations. Komodo Dragon is a prehistoric animal alive in Indonesia — as the real wonder is obviously protected and conserved in a zoo in Phoenix, United State.

Where did our animals come from?

  • Both of our Komodo dragons were bred and hatched at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1994.
  • Gaia (GUY-uh), is a female Komodo dragon that came to us from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas. She is 15 years old, weighs 74 pounds and is seven feet long. While living in Kansas, she never had a mate but still laid eggs. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) recommended that the Sedgwick County Zoo attempt to incubate two of the eggs. In the history of Komodo dragons in captivity, there have been two cases of parthenogenesis– a form of asexual reproduction – in English zoos. This sometimes occurs naturally in certain reptiles, where the eggs are never fertilized by a male, but instead duplicate the genetics of the mother. Due to the Komodo dragons’ endangered status, it was decided to incubate the eggs. Sure enough, Gaia’s eggs hatched and produced offspring, making her the first documented case of parthenogenesis in Komodo dragons in North America.
  • Ivan, Gaia’s brother, is a male Komodo dragon that came to us from the Gulf Breeze Zoo in Florida. He is 15 years old, weighs 117 pounds and is eight feet long. Ivan is apparently a very ‘friendly’ dragon — the zookeepers tell us he has been very easy and fun to work with since his arrival at the Phoenix Zoo.

What do Komodo dragons eat in captivity?

They feed on a variety of frozen and thawed mice, rats and an occasional fish as a treat.

Will they be on exhibit together?

Since Gaia and Ivan are related, they will not be allowed in the same enclosure to prevent breeding. However, the exhibit includes three separate enclosures so both dragons will be visible to the public. Also, Komodo dragons in the wild are normally solitary and, unless they are in a very large enclosure, it can be stressful to have animals together in captivity.

Will the Phoenix Zoo produce baby Komodo dragons?

As mentioned, since they are related, Gaia and Ivan will not breed. However, the exhibit and holding area is designed to accommodate breeding efforts. We will have to wait until the Species Survival Plan recommends a breeding plan and are hopeful to have offspring in the future.

Will the Komodo dragons always be on exhibit?

Komodo dragons cannot tolerate temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so at times they may not be in their outdoor exhibits. We do have an indoor facility to allow at least one animal to be visible during colder weather.

Can keepers go into the exhibit with Komodo dragons?

We always work with dangerous animals like Komodo dragons using ‘protected contact’ – always maintaining a physical barrier between the animal and keepers.

For more info, visit phoenixzoo.org | image courtesy of Phoenix Zoo.

Let’s explore Komodo National Park: The Real Wonder of The World. Celebrating the last great authentic creature in the universe.

Happy Green Travels!

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