Our lead keeper of lower vertebrates and invertebrates, Matt Cook, previously travelled out to Indonesia where he joined our field partners, the Komodo Survival Program (KSP), to conduct Komodo dragon surveys.
Flores is home to several populations of Komodo dragon which is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List; however the exact number of individuals is unclear. With our support, KSP have expanded their work further and are now in their second year of a complete population survey of the Indonesian island of Flores and its surrounding islands. At the end of the study, the data will be used to create a long-term conservation action plan for the Komodo dragon across the whole of Indonesia.
So far, two new populations of Komodo dragon have already been identified. Their latest discovery happened earlier this year on a small island off Flores called Longos where a previously undescribed population of the critically endangered yellow crested cockatoo was also discovered!
Surveying Flores is no mean feat – the island spans 5,228mi2 not including all the small surrounding islands which are also being included in the survey. The field team at KSP have sent us some incredible footage of Ontole island, it shows the type of terrain they have to tackle during their field work, plus we thought it was too good not to share with you.
The survey work is on-going so there is potential for even more discoveries over the coming months; we can’t wait to bring you more exciting news from this project!