Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Komodo dragons kill Indonesian fisherman








CNN.com reported:

An Indonesian fisherman has been killed by Komodo dragons after he was attacked while trespassing on a remote island in search of fruit, officials said Tuesday.

Before we get to the rest of the stroy let's look at some information about Komodo dragons:

The following was taken from: Zoo.org

Komodo dragons are also known as Komodo monitors, or by the local Indonesian name, "ora." These giant lizards belong to the family Varanidae, which includes 52 species of monitor lizards. All varanids belong to a single genus. Varanus includes very tiny lizards only a few inches long to the immense Komodo dragon. Komodo dragons live on four southeastern Indonesian islands in the Lesser Sunda region: Flores, Gili Motang, Komodo and Rinca. As recent as the 1970s, their habitat also included the island of Padar.

Habitat
Komodo dragons inhabit hot, seasonally arid grasslands, savannas and monsoon forests. They live mostly in the lowlands, but have occasionally been found at elevations up to 1,967 feet (600 m).

Physical Characteristics
Male length: Commonly up to 9 feet (2.75 m) long, including tail, although the record is slightly over 10 feet (3 m).
Males and females do not appear to be strikingly different, with the exception of size. A different arrangement of the scales around the genital opening is one distinguishing characteristic between the sexes. Adult Komodos are mostly black, green or gray, with patches of yellow-brown or white.

Weight
Male weight: An exceptionally large male can weigh as much as 550 pounds (250 kg) after a large meal (about half that on an empty stomach).
Females tend to be shorter and weigh less: up to 7.5 feet (2.3 m) long, and up to 150 pounds (67.5 kg).

Diet
In the wild: The primary prey for wild adult dragons is the Sunda deer, but they also eat birds, snakes, fish, crabs, snails, small mammals, pigs, water buffalo, eggs, wild horses and younger Komodos. Komodo dragons are also scavengers, and will eat almost any type of carrion.
At the zoo: Mainly rodents, NOT offered alive.

More information about Komodo dragons can be found at these links:

Zoo.org

Komodo dragon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Now that we know a little more about the Komodo dragon, let's return to the story:

Muhamad Anwar, 32, bled to death on his way to hospital after being mauled by the reptiles at Loh Sriaya, in eastern Indonesia's Komodo National Park, the park's general manager Fransiskus Harum told CNN.

"The fisherman was inside the park when he went looking for sugar-apples. The area was forbidden for people to enter as there are a lot of wild dragons," Harum said.

Other fisherman took Anwar to a clinic on nearby Flores Island, east of Bali, but he was declared dead on arrival, he added.

Komodo dragons, the world's heaviest lizards, can grow up to 3 meters (10 feet) in length and have a toxic bite that they use to kill prey such as buffalo, returning to feast when the animal succumbs to the poison.

Despite their ungainly appearance, the carnivorous reptiles can run as fast as a dog in short bursts, jump up on their hind legs, and kill animals with a blow of their powerful tails.

Attacks on humans are rare, but Monday's incident is the latest in a series in which the monster lizards -- which have forked tongues and fearsome claws --have killed or injured people.

Last month a park ranger survived after a Komodo dragon climbed the ladder into his hut and savaged his hand and foot. In 2007 an eight-year-old boy died after being mauled.

In June last year, a group of divers who were stranded on an island in the national park -- the dragons' only natural habitat -- had to fend off several attacks from the reptiles before they were rescued.

Park rangers also tell the cautionary tale of a Swiss tourist who vanished leaving nothing but a pair of spectacles and a camera after an encounter with the dragons several years ago.

An endangered species, Komodo are believed to number less than 4,000 in the wild. Access to their habitat is restricted, but tourists can get permits to see them in the wild within the National Park.

All visitors are accompanied by rangers, about 70 of whom are deployed across the park's 60,000 hectares of vegetation and 120,000 hectares of ocean.

Despite a threat of poachers, Komodo dragon numbers are believed to have stabilized in recent years, bolstered by successful breeding campaigns in captivity.

On Monday, a zoo in Surabaya on the Indonesian island of Java reported the arrival of 32 newborn Komodos after the babies all hatched in the past two weeks, the Jakarta Post reported.

Here is the link to the original story: CNN


Here are links to related reports:

Deadly Komodo dragon attack instils fear even from afar

Fruit Picker Killed In Komodo Dragon Attack

Fisherman killed by two Komodo dragons

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