Science, Tech & Environment

Komodo dragons attack

YT says the Komodos are pretty fearsome creatures: in reality they're huge gigantic lizards which feed on buffalo and deer and occasionally people. (That's where some of this controversy lies because one of these dragons killed a 9 year old boy?) Yes, the boy was crouching in the bushes near his house and the dragon tries to crush his skull and bones because that's how they attack to digest their prey. The relatives tried to scream and drive the dragon away but by that time the boy was dead. (This island where the Komodo dragon runs rampant is located in a national park and the locals say the dragons are wreaking havoc because the authorities who run this national park have made changes in the rules and in some cases in accordance with an American nature conservancy group. What has been happening which illustrates a difference in what conservation means?) This American group came in 1995 and funded the national park organization but they also drafted a program to restore the islands to their natural state. That outlawed the presence of dogs and prohibited the locals from feeding goats to the dragons. Local tradition requires locals to sacrifice goats to the dragons and they see this as punishment for not feeding the dragons. (Is the basic problem that the villagers see things differently from the way the conservationists do?) Well the conservationists were worried about domesticating the lizards, but the locals say they've been domesticated for centuries because that's how long they've been feeding them and the locals feel they've found a way to coexist with the lizards. The locals now feel as if the world cares more about the lizards than them and they want a fence now to be built around each village to protect them. (How many lizards versus people are there on these islands?) There are 4,000 villagers living on the two islands and about 2,500 dragons walking around. The thing about the dragons is even if they don't kill you, their breathe is toxic and they carry a lot of bacteria in their teeth. That's how they kill their prey. So there is panic and fear in the villages.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the audio to hear it.)

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