For the first time in its history, the Buffalo Zoo is home to a Komodo Dragon.
The nearly five year old lizard named Kadal came to Buffalo from the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas where he was hatched.
Around the world, it’s relatively uncommon for zoos to have Komodo Dragons. In their native Indonesia, the lizards live in the wild on just four islands, and are considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
“Its incredibly important for us as ambassadors of animals here in the zoo community to show animals that you might not be able to see in the future in the wild,” said Zoo Communications Manager Christian Dobosiewicz. “Kadal is an ambassador. He’s here in Western New York to inspire people, and to teach people about animals that are endangered, vulnerable, or critically endangered.”
As the largest lizard species in existence, Komodo Dragons can grow as long as 10 feet and as large as 200 pounds. Kadal is considered relatively young, but already weighs in at close to 75 pounds. He’s nearly half the size he’s expected to grow to. For their big boy, the zoo has specially sized accommodations inside the new Donna M. Fernandes Amphibian and Reptile Center.
“It’s fully decked out to meet all the requirements for him to grow into, and we have a whole backup area as well in the new renovation,” said Dobosiewicz.
Komodo Dragons are generally wary of humans, but with so much interaction since his arrival in October, Kadal has become more comfortable with his handlers and is expected to interact well with visitors to his exhibit. He’ll be on view when the new amphibian and reptile center opens on May 24.