For centuries local villagers who lived around what is now Komodo National Park in Indonesia fed slaughtered animals to their neighbors, giant Komodo dragons. The locals believe that the dragons are the reincarnation of their ancestors and townsfolk, and would leave offerings of dead meat at the jungle’s edge to keep the massive predators at bay. About a decade ago, however, they were forced to stop by their own government working with the American non-profit, the Nature Conservancy. Now they’re blaming these groups for a recent spate of Komodo dragon attacks (including the death by bone-smashing of a nine year-old boy last year) and the dragons’ venturing further and further into civilian areas.
Aunt Marion? Is that you?
Do yourselves all a favor and read Yaroslov Trofimov’s well written article, When Good Lizards Go Bad:Komodo Dragons Take Violent Turn, from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.
Then you tell us… Do you think the forced discontinuation of the centuries-old practice of feeding Komodo dragons has actually done more to hurt them and the humans that co-inhabit the island than help them?
More on Komodo dragons below the fold…
Komodo dragons are the largest species of lizard alive today, reaching up to ten feet in length. They inhabit just a handful of islands in central Indonesia, and their populations have been decimated by human encroachment and their popularity as zoo animals. Subsisting mostly on carrion, the dragons can also be fearsome predators, taking down water buffalo, birds, snakes and once in a while, humans. Their bite has a large concentration of toxic bacteria in it, making their bite particularly dangerous. When hunting they often rely on a single nip and then wait for the prey to die of blood poisoning before consuming it. While eating, Komodo dragons take time to crush the bones of their prey, whether it’s dead or alive, by smashing it against rocks or just crunching down on it with their powerful jaws, in order to facilitate digestion. That’s so weird! I do the same thing when I’m eating human!
Warning Graphic Violence: