|Human activities such as cutting down forests to make way for infrastructure projects could also threaten the Komodos’ habitat and their existence said researchers interviewed by CNA. File photo of a Komodo dragon. (Photo by= AFP)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] JAKARTA: Weighing up to 150kg and growing up to 3m long, the Komodo dragons are the world’s largest lizards only found in Indonesia’s Komodo National Park and neighboring Flores Island.
The cannibals eat deer and pigs and are even capable of attacking humans with their shark-like teeth and poisonous venom. Despite that, the scaly-skinned animals attract many people to the World Heritage-listed Komodo National Park, which is known for its unique savannah landscape. “The Komodos are interesting because they have a character, unlike any other animal,” tourist guide Yon Johannes in Labuan Bajo, Flores, told CNA, adding that they live on the edge of forests or savannahs. It’s believed the Komodos have existed for millions of years, but they face increasing threats from climate change and infrastructure projects.
Earlier this month, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) changed the Komodo dragons’ status from a vulnerable animal to endangered in its Red List of Threatened Species, the first update for the monitor lizards in more than 20 years. There are only about 3,000 Komodo dragons in the wild and the IUCN said the impacts of climate change are threats to the rare animal. Herpetology curator Evy Arida, who has researched the Komodos extensively, said IUCN’s classification is justified given the number of the Komodos.