Endangered Blue Dragon Moves To Worlds Oldest Zoo

Story ByMichael Leidig, Sub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News

CEN/zoovienna

This fantastic footage shows an endangered blue spotted tree monitor from Indonesia which is one of two that have now taken up residence at the world’s oldest zoo in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Schoenbrunn Zoo said that the blue-coloured lizards, which normally live in rainforests on the island of Batanta in Indonesia, are regarded as endangered because they are not found anywhere else apart from the 450 square-kilometres island.

With its spectacular colour, it is a popular lizard to be targeted by traffickers, which has severely affected numbers in the wild and it is also suffering from deforestation in its homeland.

CEN/zoovienna

Zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck said the rare reptiles were only discovered in 2001, and grow up to 112 centimetres (44 inches) including a 76-centimetre (29.9-inch) long tail which it uses to help it cling on to trees.

The two that have now taken up residence at the Austrian zoo had been moved over from Zurich zoo. In the wild, they eat insects, spiders, eggs, small animals and birds, but other than that little more is known about them in their natural habitat, including how many eggs they typically lay or what their life expectancy is.

It is also not known exactly how many blue spotted tree monitor (Varanus macraei) still exist in the wild, although they are bred relatively successfully in captivity. They are listed as endangered on the IUCN’s red list.

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