Komodo dragons among new zoo residents

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New animals arrive in Zoo as exchange program with Prague zoo swapping for a pair of Pinnawala Elephants. 

Six new animals arrived last Thursday to Dehiwala Zoo as a result of an animal exchange program with the Chez Republic’s Prague zoo. This includes pairs of Przewalski’s Horses, River Hippopotamuses and Komodo Dragons.

Komodo Dragon is the largest monitor lizard in the world that can grow about 10ft. They are naturally found only in Indonesia’s Komodo Island few other suburban locations and famous for their notorious hunting habits. Komodos are carnivores and the diet of big Komodo dragons mainly consists of deer or buffalo and also does not mind eating carrion. It is believed that the deadly bacteria develop in its mouth makes its saliva venomous, so after a bite the prey dies sometimes in few days time where Komodo’s will await to finish off the prey.

A Komodo Dragon resting in its enclosure

In Dehiwala Zoo, they will be given goat meat and other meat items as per zoo sources. As Komodo Dragons are burrowing animals, a metal mesh has been put under its enclosure, and then cemented before putting amount of sand to make sure they cannot escape. This is the first time Dehiwala Zoo got down Komodo Dragons as per the Zoo sources.

All these 3 animals are threatened with extinction in the wild the wild as Przewalski’s Horse is categorized as “Endangered”; while the other 2 species are categorized as “Vulnerable for Extinction”.

Przewalski’s Horse (also known as Mongolian Horse) is an iconic animal that conservation action can help to revive animals from extinction. As per experts, the last wild Przewalski’s horses had been seen in 1966 in Mongolia and it was afterward considered as an animal “Extinct in the Wild”. But zoos around the world have launched a successful breeding program; later re-introducing it to the wild. This horse is now got its rates elevated from ‘Extinct in the wild” to “Endangered” making it a classic case where conservation action can help to save animals from extinction.

In return of these animals, a pair of Pinnawala Elephants 8-year Janitha and 7 year old Amara has been sent to Prague Zoo last week. A Sri Lankan military aircraft has been used to transport these animals last week reaching the destination after about 20 – 30 hour long flight. In return the aircraft brought the animals to Dehiwala Zoo. Chez Republic consider elephants as high value animals, but animal welfare societies in Sri Lanka are not too happy to send these elephant to Prague as the city is having a cold period and also claiming that the animals are usually been kept in under-sized enclosures.

Talking to the local media in Chez republic, the director of Prague zoo welcomed Sri Lanka saying that the elephant acquisition is Sri Lanka’s gift to the Czech Republic rather than routine exchange of animals between zoos. Prague zoo deputy director Jaroslav Simek further said it is a unique project that will largely help extend the genetic base of the European breeding of Indian elephants.

According to Chez newspaper praguemonitor, the newcomer elephants will be accommodated in a new pavilion that has been completed in the Prague zoo and that is now inhabited by an Indian elephant male and three females, including a pregnant one. The Prague zoo wanted to bring four new elephants from Sri Lanka but the country never provides more than two to foreign applicants.

A Mongolian Horse

A new River Hippo

 

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