The real version of Godzilla, the Komodo dragon, is now an endangered species, and experts believe the species is on the verge of extinction.
Recently, the world’s largest lizard went from a vulnerable to an endangered species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List. Last week, a report from the conservation organization revealed just how bad the situation has gotten for the Komodo dragon.
Komodo dragons, which can be up to 10 feet long, have poisonous saliva and can easily take down a water buffalo. They reside only in Indonesia in Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and on a few neighboring islands. They are a protected species and rarely come into contact with humans, with only a few documented attacks on humans.
So why is the species in danger? Climate change.
IUCN says rising temperatures and sea levels are to blame, as it expects suitable dragon habitat space to be reduced “by at least 30% over the next 45%. years “. As for some of the creatures living on the nearby unprotected island of Flores, human activity has resulted in significant habitat loss, as well as hunting for the same food resources.
The expected decline in the Komodo dragon population over the next few decades comes as IUCN estimates that around 1,380 adults and 2,000 juveniles remain. In 1994, the New York Times estimated there were between 5,000 and 8,000.
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“The idea that these prehistoric animals have come close to extinction in part because of climate change is terrifying,” Andrew Terry, director of conservation for the Zoological Society of London, said in a statement.
If the population did decline, the Komodo dragon would enter the Critical Danger level before being labeled as extinct in the wild. Some zoos around the world are home to Komodo dragons.
The IUCN report also said 37% of sharks and rays the organization tracks are also threatened with extinction. Overall, the organization says more than 38,500 species are threatened with extinction.
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