Local weather change threatens Komodo dragons

Climate change threatens Komodo dragons

The world’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon, could possibly be pushed to extinction by local weather change until vital measures to intervene are taken quickly.

Climate change threatens Komodo dragons
Komodo dragon [Credit score: Achmad Ariefiandy,
Komodo Survival Program]

A brand new worldwide research, led by the College of Adelaide and Deakin College, has discovered that the affect of each world warming and sea-level rise threatens the extinction of Komodo dragons, which have already got restricted habitats, and this have to be higher included into conservation methods.

“Local weather change is more likely to trigger a pointy decline within the availability of habitat for Komodo dragons, severely lowering their abundance in a matter of a long time,” says lead writer Dr Alice Jones from the College of Adelaide’s College of Organic Sciences. “Our fashions predict native extinction on three of the 5 island habitats the place Komodo dragons are discovered as we speak.”

The Komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis, is the world’s most iconic lizard species which has existed on Earth for greater than one million years, however solely an estimated 4000 people survive within the wild. They’re endemic to 5 islands in southeast Indonesia: Komodo, Rinca, Nusa Kode and Gili Motang that are a part of Komodo Nationwide Park, and Flores, the fifth and largest island which has three nature reserves.

“Present-day conservation methods are usually not sufficient to keep away from species decline within the face of local weather change. It’s because local weather change will compound the detrimental results of already small, remoted populations,” says Dr Jones.

“Interventions corresponding to establishing new reserves in areas which can be predicted to maintain high-quality habitats sooner or later, regardless of world warming, might work to reduce the consequences of local weather change on Komodo dragons.

This research, which is printed within the journal Ecology and Evolution, is the results of a few years of fieldwork on the ecology and conservation standing of Komodo dragons.

“Utilizing this knowledge and data in conservation fashions has supplied a uncommon alternative to grasp local weather change impacts on Indonesia’s distinctive however extremely susceptible biodiversity,” says co-author Dr Tim Jessop, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin College.

Importantly, the analysis undertaking concerned shut collaboration with the Komodo Nationwide Park and the Japanese Lesser Sunda Central Bureau for Conservation of Pure Assets.

“The severity and extent of human actions impacting Komodo dragon populations, particularly on Flores Island, are solely simply being realised,” says co-author Deni Purwandana, Coordinator of the Komodo Survival Program.

“Having an perception into future impacts of local weather change supplies new prospects to work with conservation companies and native communities to seek out on-ground options that may restrict local weather and different threats to Komodo dragons and their habitats.”

The researchers say climate-change-informed choices ought to be a standard a part of conservation follow.

“Our conservation fashions present that Komodo dragons on two protected massive islands are much less susceptible to local weather change. Nonetheless, even these island habitats won’t present an enough insurance coverage coverage for the survival of the species,” says Affiliate Professor Damien Fordham from the College of Adelaide’s Setting Institute.

“Conservation managers in coming a long time may have to think about translocating animals to websites the place Komodo dragons haven’t been discovered for a lot of a long time. This state of affairs may be examined simply utilizing our strategy.

“Our analysis exhibits that with out taking fast motion to mitigate climatic change, we threat committing many vary restricted species like Komodo dragons to extinction.”

Writer: Crispin Savage | Supply: College of Adelaide [September 18, 2020]

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