Another Komodo Dragon Dies at Indonesian 'Death Zoo'

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A Komodo dragon was found dead Thursday at an Indonesian zoo infamous for hundreds of animal deaths, the third of the giant lizards to perish there this year, a zoo official said.

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The 11-year-old male Komodo dragon died in its cage at Surabaya zoo, on the main island of Java, said Liang Kaspe, the park's veterinary surgeon.

Two of the Komodos, which are the world's largest living lizards and have a venomous bite, died in February and June at the zoo, which is Indonesia's biggest.

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An initial autopsy indicated that the latest death was caused by intestinal problems, said Kaspe, but further laboratory tests will be carried out over the next month to check for other problems.

The zoo now has seven male, six female and 59 baby Komodos. More than 30 eggs have also been laid since the end of July, Kaspe said.

Surabaya zoo has been dubbed the "death zoo" because so many animals have died there prematurely in recent years owing to neglect, including several orangutans, a tiger and a giraffe.

The management of the zoo has been taken over by the Surabaya city administration, but the deaths have not stopped and animal welfare groups continue to call for the zoo's closure.

Komodo dragons, which are native to several islands in central Indonesia, can grow up to three metres (10 feet) long and weigh up to 70 kilograms (154 pounds). They are classified as a vulnerable species.

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