Story at a glance

  • The carnivorous lizards that can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh as much as 300 pounds are native to Indonesia.
  • Rising temperatures and subsequent sea-level rise are expected to reduce the lizard’s habitat by at least 30 percent over the next 45 years.
  • “The idea that these prehistoric animals have moved one step closer to extinction due in part to climate change is terrifying,” conservationists said.

The world’s largest living lizard species is moving closer to extinction as rising sea levels fueled by climate change threatens its habitat. 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this week changed the status of the Komodo dragon from vulnerable to endangered in its latest “red list” update

The carnivorous lizards that can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh as much as 300 pounds are native to Indonesia and are only found in the country’s Komodo National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, and a neighboring island called Flores. 


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While the population of Komodo dragons in the national park is currently stable and well protected, the IUCN says the species is threatened by the future effects of climate change.

Rising temperatures and subsequent sea-level rise are expected to reduce the monitor lizard’s habitat by at least 30 percent over the next 45 years, according to the IUCN. 

The conservation group says populations of Komodo dragons in Flores outside protected areas are also facing habitat loss due to “ongoing human activities.” 

“The idea that these prehistoric animals moved one step closer to extinction due in part to climate change is terrifying - and a further clarion call for nature to be placed at the heart of all decision making on the eve of the COP26 in Glasgow,” Andrew Terry, conservation director at the Zoological Society of London, said, referring to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Komodo dragons are known for being fierce hunters, as they are capable of preying on pigs, deer and even cattle with their serrated teeth and venomous saliva. They’ve even been known to eat each other. 


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Published on Sep 09, 2021