The Akron Zoo is now home to a new Komodo dragon. The male dragon is named Jasper and he is four years old.
Jasper has several connections to the Akron Zoo. The zoo’s previous female Komodo dragon, Draco, was his aunt. His mother, Charlie, lived at the Akron Zoo between 2012-2016, before she moved to the Chattanooga Zoo based on breeding recommendations from the Komodo Dragon Species Survival Plan (SSP).
After Jasper hatched on Aug. 4, 2019, it was discovered via DNA testing that Jasper and his two brothers were reproduced through parthenogenesis. This is a type of reproduction where the female is able to produce offspring without male fertilization.
Komodo dragons are native to Indonesia and are the largest lizards in the world. They can reach up to 10 feet in length and weigh, on average, between 150-300 pounds. Jasper, as a young Komodo dragon, weighs 10 pounds and is a little over four feet long.
Komodo dragons are classified as endangered by IUCN Red List, mainly due to habitat loss, hunting, climate change and invasive species introducing new diseases. The Akron Zoo, as a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), participates in the Komodo Dragon SSP. This managed breeding plan works to establish a genetically-diverse population of endangered species in accredited facilities.
Jasper joins the zoo’s male Komodo dragon, Padar. As Komodo dragons are solitary, the two males will alternate their time in the public habitat.