Wednesday, 17 May 2017

INDONESIA: Komodo Dragon Attacks Tourist Who Was Photographing Another Komodo

A komodo dragon, one of the world's largest lizards, attacked a tourist in Indonesia who was trying to photograph the giant creatures feasting on a goat, police said.

Singaporean Loh Lee Aik, 67, was rushed to hospital with leg injuries after being pounced on by the venomous creature.

Sudiyono, the head of the Komodo National Park islands in central Indonesia that form a protected habitat for the lizards said it was the first attack by one of the creatures on a foreign tourist since 1974, when a visitor from abroad was killed.

Loh had been staying at a village on Komodo island before setting off in search of the lizards Wednesday.

But he failed to take a park ranger with him, something all visitors to the islands are advised to do.

He was probably very excited taking pictures of the komodo, he didn't realise another komodo was approaching him and then he was bitten, local police spokesman Jules Abraham Abast said.

Luckily it was a small komodo that bit him.

He was given first aid at the site before being taken by boat to nearby Flores island, where he was admitted to hospital. Abast and the hospital said he was in a stable condition.

Komodo mating season

The attack happened during the Komodo mating season, which runs from May to August and is a time when the lizards are more aggressive.

Abast said Loh had failed to report his visit to authorities and urged visitors to do so in future to avoid such incidents.

Thirty people have been bitten by komodo dragons since 1974, with five of the victims dying, according to Komodo National Park authorities.

Recent research has found that the dragons' jaws have highly sophisticated venom glands that can cause paralysis, spasms and shock through haemorrhaging.

The lizards are native to several Indonesian islands, and are considered a vulnerable species, with only a few thousand left in the world.

They can grow up to three metres long and weigh up to 70 kg.

Komodo dragon attacks 2 rangers

A Komodo dragon in Indonesia has attacked two employees in one of the giant lizards' protected island habitats, leaving its victims hospitalised with serious injuries, an official said on Wednesday.

One victim, a 50-year-old park ranger, was sitting at his desk at the Rinca island front office, where tourists usually check in, when the 2m-long monitor snuck into his room on Tuesday afternoon.

"The man panicked when he saw the Komodo and tried to escape by jumping on a chair, but the Komodo quickly grabbed and bit one of his legs," Komodo National Park official Heru Rudiharto said.

Rudiharto said the ranger was the victim of a similar Komodo attack in 2009 and was still traumatised.

Another employee, aged 35, heard the ranger scream and quickly ran to his aid, but the lizard also attacked him, taking a bite at his leg.

Both are in good condition after being given stitches at a health clinic, Rudiharto said, but they are being monitored in hospital to ensure an infection does not develop.

Until recently, Komodos were believed to hunt with a "bite and wait" strategy using toxic bacteria in their saliva to weaken or kill their prey, before descending in numbers to feast.

But recent research found that the dragons' jaws are armed with highly sophisticated poison glands that can cause paralysis, spasms and shock through haemorrhaging.

They are native to several Indonesian islands and are considered a vulnerable species, with only a few thousand left in the world.

Their normal diet consists of large mammals, reptiles and birds.

A Komodo in October attacked a woman collecting grass for animal feed at the park, Rudiharto said. She has recovered from a serious leg injury.

The world's largest monitor lizard, Komodos can grow up to 3m and typically weigh to 70kg.

Komodo dies at Indonesian 'death zoo'

A Komodo dragon was found dead on Thursday at an Indonesian zoo infamous for hundreds of animal deaths, the third of the giant lizards to perish there this year, a zoo official said.

The 11-year-old male Komodo dragon died in its cage at Surabaya zoo, on the main island of Java, said Liang Kaspe, the park's veterinary surgeon.

Two of the Komodos, which are the world's largest living lizards and have a venomous bite, died in February and June at the zoo, which is Indonesia's biggest.

An initial autopsy indicated that the latest death was caused by intestinal problems, said Kaspe, but further laboratory tests will be carried out over the next month to check for other problems.

The zoo now has seven male, six female and 59 baby Komodos. More than 30 eggs have also been laid since the end of July, Kaspe said.

Surabaya zoo has been dubbed the "death zoo" because so many animals have died there prematurely in recent years owing to neglect, including several orangutans, a tiger and a giraffe.

The management of the zoo has been taken over by the Surabaya city administration, but the deaths have not stopped and animal welfare groups continue to call for the zoo's closure.

Komodo dragons, which are native to several islands in central Indonesia, can grow up to 3m long and weigh up to 70kg. They are classified as a vulnerable species.

US zoo worker injured by Komodo dragon bite

Omaha zoo worker was bitten by a Komodo dragon on Sunday and treated at a local hospital.

The female worker was taken from the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium to a hospital after the 12:30 incident. Later in the afternoon, the zoo said in a statement the worker had been released and should recover fully. The zoo said earlier media reports that the worker was critically injured were incorrect.

Assistant general curator Stephanie Huettner said the worker needed a couple of stiches to close up the wound on her hand.

The animal involved was a juvenile Komodo dragon. The zoo said the animal is about 1.2m-long and weighs about 4.5kg.

The zoo currently has one adult Komodo dragon and two juveniles on display.

Adult Komodo dragons can weigh more than 135kg and reach 3m in length. The carnivorous lizards can also run up to 18km/h in short bursts, according to the National Geographic website.

The Omaha zoo is a well-regarded facility. Earlier this year, travel website TripAdvisor ranked the zoo first in the world with some 1.7 million visitors a year.