TAMPA, Florida — History has been made at the TampaZoo at Lowey Park. For the first time ever, six endangered Komodo dragons have hatched at the zoo after months of incubation.
According to a news release, the six new dragons started hatching on Aug. 21. ZooTampa’s herpetology and veterinary teams monitored the eggs by using candling imaging and genetic testing to ensure that the eggs were viable.
The clutch of hatchlings is made up of three females and three males, each weighing in around 100 grams and sitting at 10 inches long. Their parents are mother Aanjay and father Titus.
“These first-time additions at the Zoo are a big win for conservation,” said Dan Costell, associate curator of Herpetology at ZooTampa. “It was a long process, and we are excited that these additions to a key endangered species are finally here.” The breeding was recommended through the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan program, a breeding program that helps manage the sustainability of animal populations.
“Being a part of the Species Survival Plan program, ZooTampa has a shared commitment to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse and demographically varied reptile population,” Costell said. “Komodo dragons are one of 99 species that we are working to save and protect at the Zoo as part of the SSP.”
There are only about 1400 adult Komodo dragons left in the wild. They can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh 200 pounds. The hatchlings are growing behind the scenes right now, and you'll be able to visit them at the zoo later this fall.