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Woodland Park Zoo Open Upgraded Komodo Dragon Habitat

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: September 19, 2021 1:00 am

New Komodo Dragon Habitat at Woodland Park Zoo

A Komodo Dragon explores the new tree root feature within its upgraded habitat at Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo have unveiled their upgraded Komodo dragon habitat giving improved welfare to their two residents dragons and increasing its sustainability credentials. It will also give guests a better experience.

When the Komodo dragon habitat opened at Woodland Park Zoo in 2000 it contained all the necessary comforts to ensure an adequate standard of care for the lizards.

As Kevin Murphy, an animal curator at Woodland Park Zoo explained though much has changed over 20 years, "In two decades we have come to understand the husbandry for these animals has advanced significantly and we needed to make changes to their home to ensure it evolves and matches the current state-of-the-art care for the species."

“The renovations are based on the latest science to better meet the needs of our Komodo dragons.”

New Komodo Dragon Habitat at Woodland Park Zoo

A Komodo dragon rests within its newly upgraded habitat at Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Komodo dragons are cold blooded or ectothermic animals and as such must regulate their body temperature through external heat sources. To provide this exhibit designers have interspersed their new habitat with hot spots on basking rocks and under logs.

The new artificial logs and root structure help to conceal the ultraviolet heat lights. This tree root area also provides opportunities for digging and tunneling.

“The upgrades are all essential elements that our dragons need to stay healthy while also supporting more efficient energy use,” added Murphy. “We can control all the lighting, temperature, humidity, and ventilation conditions throughout the Komodo spaces, so we can effectively manage the environment to meet the needs of the Komodos. As the science of animal care continues to evolve, we strive to continue to learn, change and improve so all our animals receive the best possible care throughout their lives.”

For visitors new glass panels have been added to give guests a more immersive experience.

As Komodo Dragons are solitary each has its own space within the enclosure.

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To help increase sustainability within the habitat the building's glass atrium roof has been replaced with a new insulated metal roof system. This is expected to have a long service life and will reduce costs for natural cost by $5,000 to $8,000. It will also reduce carbon emissions by 20 to 40 tons each year.

The improvement project was made possible with generous support from Seattle voters, the Seattle Park District, The Sunderland Foundation, and John and Sarah Cook.

New Komodo Dragon Habitat at Woodland Park Zoo

The new tree root feature during construction at the Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

The reopening of the habitat comes just a week after the International Union of Conservation Nature (IUCN) raised the threat level for the Komodo dragon from Vulnerable to Endangered.

Komodo Dragons are found on just four islands within the Komodo National Park in southeastern Indonesia—Komodo, Rinca, Gili Montang, Gili Dasami—and the island of Flores.

Unfortunately climate change has led to predictions that 30% of their suitable habitat will be lost to rising sea levels in the coming four decades. These lizards also often come in to contact with humans as they compete for deer and boars.

It is estimated that just 3-4,000 of these lizards remain in the wild.

New Komodo Dragon Habitat at Woodland Park Zoo

A Komodo dragon explores its newly upgraded habitat at Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Learn more about Komodo Dragons here – Komodo Dragon Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Woodland Park Zoo on their website – Woodland Park Zoo

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