You’ve all been introduced to the adorable Animal SnooziHedz, but if you caught our post on Leeroy the Lion, you’ll know that we’re slowly going to tell you about each of them individually. We don’t do this for every product, but it’s very important that we do for these. That’s because for every SnooziHedz sold, 50 pence will be donated to a relevant charitable cause.
So this is how the Dudley the Dinosaur SnooziHedz will be doing his part ;o)
Since Dudley is a dinosaur, and dinosaurs are now extinct (sob!), we’ve decided that Dudley will sponsor the next best thing to a dinosaur- a Komodo Dragon!
About the Komodo Dragon
Needing little introduction, the Komodo dragon is the largest lizard on earth and in many respects a living dinosaur. This phenomenal reptile grows to almost 80kg in weight and 10ft in length. Once a creature of myths and legends, early sailors to remote Indonesia brought back stories of ferocious man-eating land crocodiles. It wasn’t discovered until 1912 and yet a decade on, it still remains somewhat of a mystery to science.
Today, a mere 3-4,000 dragons survive on four islands, split into small and vulnerable sub-populations by man. Intentional burning of grasslands to promote fresh grazing for Sunda deer, the dragons’ principal prey, has led to the species rapid demise. With little cover, this ambush predator simply struggles to make enough kills. Lack of food pushes the occasional dragon into villages which poses a problem for both dragon and villagers alike. Other threats such as tsunamis and disease further threaten this endangered species. Hence, ex-situ populations form critical genetic reservoirs to (in-part) conserve this species for generations to come.
What will Dudley’s fundraising go to?
Komodo dragons demand a lot of specialist care and are only present in a handful of zoos worldwide and have reproduced in a small percentage of those (ZSL London Zoo has bred them twice). They have suffered from a variety of medical issues that ZSL scientists and zookeepers have led the way to research and resolve. A new study involves using special data-logging devices called “Daily Diaries” to monitor a variety of parameters (such as UV light, temperature, movement, body temperature and so on) to piece together the intricate ecology of this species. If successful, this exciting and groundbreaking technique may revolutionise animal husbandry in zoos, as well as improve our basic knowledge of a species’ ecology in the wild.
Phase One of the project involves developing the Komodo dragon Daily Diary – £1500. These will in part be used on captive dragons in European zoos.
Phase Two will include visits to Flores Island, Indonesia to deploy and retrieve diaries used on wild dragons – £2000 / trip / person
Comparisons will be made between captive and wild dragons and in conjunction with intense scrutiny of institutional husbandry practises, we hope to vastly improve the lives (and reproduction) of Komodo dragons in zoos. We will also learn so much about what the species does in the wild learn what it needs to survive. A truly ground-breaking project!