According to the latest “red list” update, the komodo dragon, the world’s biggest lizard, is being threatened with extinction as rising water levels, driven by the climate change crisis shrinks its habitat.
Rising sea levels are set to affect the many Indonesian islands that are home to the Komodo Dragon within the next 45 years, according to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
The IUCN has changed the Komodo Dragon’s status from vulnerable to endangered.
As well as being unable to move to higher ground, the komodo dragons’ habitat is becoming increasingly fragmented by human activity, making populations less genetically healthy and more vulnerable. Their habitat range on the island of Flores in south-eastern Indonesia is thought to have shrunk by more than 40% between 1970 and 2000.
“Because of human pressure, the forest is slowly being cut down and disappearing, and the savannah is affected by fires and degradation. That is why the animals are really in small little pockets,” said Gerardo Garcia, curator of vertebrates and invertebrates at Chester Zoo.
“Habitats are being made even smaller due to rising sea levels.”
The Komodo dragon has now been classified as an endangered species, due to the impacts of climate change and destructive human activity.— BFM News (@NewsBFM) September 5, 2021
The world’s largest lizard, which is native to Indonesia, is expected to lose at least 30% of its habitat within the next 45 years. pic.twitter.com/TxhKowTM7a
Europeans discovered Komodo dragons only in the early 20th century and were immediately fascinated by the creatures. Growing up to 3 meters long and weighing more than 150kg, komodos feed mainly on forest-dwelling pigs, deer, buffalo, and fruit bats that hang in the low-lying mangrove trees.
When Komodo’s attack, the venom in their saliva causes their prey’s blood pressure to drop, rendering them immobile.