San Antonio Zoo Successfully Hatches Endangered Komodo Dragons

Photo: San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo has announced the hatching of 10 Komodo dragons. The hatchings occurred between October 17 and October 27, hatching two boys, four girls, and four yet to be determined dragons.

"This monumental hatching is a testament to the zoo's persistence and commitment to conservation," said Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo. "The hatchlings are thriving, and we are looking forward to watching them grow and help preserve the existence of Komodo dragons."

There are over 3,000 lizard species, but the Komodo dragon wins the prize for being the largest living lizard in the world! It is a type of monitor lizard, an ancient group of reptiles with ancestors that date back more than 100 million years.

In 2021, Komodo dragons were downgraded from Vulnerable to Endangered, with less than 1,400 mature individuals left in the world. The species is at risk due to their limited habitat range consisting of 6 islands in southern Indonesia, with most of the population living on Komodo Island. While the populations are currently stable, they are at risk due to limitations of the habitat range, development that consumes habitat, and the impending threat of habitat loss from climate change as ocean water levels continue to rise.

Komodo dragons hatching at the San Antonio Zoo.Photo: San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo has long supported Komodo dragon conservation via the Species Survival Program (SSP). The zoo also supports the Komodo Survival Program (KSP), the only conservation organization actively doing fieldwork and research with Komodo dragons. San Antonio Zoo staff support the SSP and KSP by playing active roles on the SSP Steering Committee (Steering Committee member, vet advisor to SSP, and Conservation Fund secretary) and in the field assisting with the research.

This hatching results from a successful collaboration between two Komodo dragon SSP institutions; The mother, Kristika, resides at the San Antonio Zoo. The sire, Boga, lives at the Houston Zoo. The SSP Coordinator and Studbook Keeper, along with assistance from population biologists, determined Boga and Kristika would be a genetically strong match for pairing to help enhance the overall health of the Komodo dragon population. Last winter, Boga successfully bred with Kristika, which resulted in eggs being laid on March 8, 2021. Incubation ranged from 223-233 days for this clutch.

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