Komodo Dragons Threatened to Extinction by Climate Change

Image: Tom Fisk via Pexels

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

The Komodo dragon, the largest lizard on Earth, has been added to the IUCNred list — a sign that the species is near extinction. The cause? Climate change. Komodo dragons live on land very close to sea level, so the rising water levels could flood or destroy 30% of their habitat. Moreover, development on Indonesia’s forests and fires raging through its savannas have decreased the lizards’ habitat by 40% between 1970 and 2000.


Why this Matters: This is the first time Komodo dragons have ended up near-extinct in over 20 years. In addition, the IUCN has added over 38,000 out of 138,000 species to its “red list.” Startlingly, the IUCN suggested that the climate crisis and overfishing has threatened 37% of shark and ray species with extinction. 


Sharks and Komodo dragons have been a part of the world’s ecosystem since prehistoric times. “The idea that these prehistoric animals have moved one step closer to extinction due in part to climate change is terrifying,” Andrew Terry, conservation director at the Zoological Society of London, told Al Jazeera


Some Good News?

Though the IUCN red list had a dire report for Komodo dragons, it showed that four out of seven of the formerly near-extinct species of tuna — Atlantic bluefin, southern bluefin, albacore and yellowfin — have begun to recover. This upswing was a result of “harvest strategies,” a quota that limited the tuna from the threat of overfishing.  


The good news suggests that conservation works, and that protecting Komodo dragons’ fragile habitats could save them from extinction.


Up Next

Researchers Record Rare Maned Wolf Pups in Argentina

Researchers Record Rare Maned Wolf Pups in Argentina

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor The maned wolf is certainly a unique animal, with long legs, massive ears, and bright red fur. Many might compare it to a fox, but it’s actually South America’s largest canid species.  And not only is the maned wolf elusive — it’s endangered. Researchers working with Rewilding Argentina and […]

Continue Reading 361 words
One Cool Thing: International Red Panda Day

One Cool Thing: International Red Panda Day

Today is International Red Panda Day! These iconic and adorable creatures are worth celebrating for many reasons, but they’re also in need of serious protection. This cat-sized, fluffy-tailed animal is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.    Climate change and rising temperatures are reducing the red panda’s […]

Continue Reading 136 words
IFAW and Leonard Joel Host ‘Art to Roam” Virtual Art Auction to Benefit African Wildlife

IFAW and Leonard Joel Host ‘Art to Roam” Virtual Art Auction to Benefit African Wildlife

By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer In honor of World Animal Day on October 4th, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is hosting a virtual auction called “Art to Roam” in collaboration with Australian auction house Leonard Joel and creative studios worldwide. The event will raise funds for international artists, and also for the […]

Continue Reading 385 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.