Thursday, September 3, 2009

Komodo Dragon Update

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I don't know how many of you have been following the Komodo Dragon story in Zoo News Digest.
I did do an update of the situation as I knew it and published this on HubPages on the 27th August. You can read that here:

Komodo Dragon Problems

Today I had an email from the CBSG (who I had referred to in the hub) and here is their statement:

CBSG would like to clarify our position with respect to the current proposed removal of komodo monitors from Flores . In 1995 CBSG facilitated a Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA) workshop in Bogor , Indonesia , attended by 44 biologists, managers and other stakeholders. The PHVA was designed to assess the status of both wild and captive komodo populations and, with the assistance of population modeling, to develop recommendations for management and conservation both in situ and ex situ. Recommendations for captive management included regional and global coordination and concerted efforts to breed unrepresented wild-caught individuals already in captivity, but did not recommend the capture of additional komodos for captive breeding at that time.

Modeling of the Wae Woul population on Flores indicated that the population could withstand the removal of 10 animals (5 males, 5 females) given the model assumptions. However, this workshop analysis was conducted almost 15 years ago and even at that time it was recognized that data for this population were highly unreliable (e.g., the model assumed 100 individuals with stable population growth) and that the model likely underestimated threats and extinction risk to the population. PHVA participants urgently recommended field studies to determine the size, status and threats of this population to allow for the development of better population models.

CBSG has offered our assistance to Indonesia to conduct an assessment of the current situation. We have offered to facilitate a workshop that incorporates all available new data to evaluate the current population status of the wild and captive populations of komodo monitors in Indonesia, to develop a more reliable population model given new data, and to determine the potential impacts of the proposed capture of komodos from Flores on both populations, as well as the impacts of other potential management actions.

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