Decades of hard work has finally paid off for the Taman Safari Indonesia conservation park in Bogor, West Java, with the recent birth of 21 Komodo lizards.
The park, which is located in a cool mountainous area south of Jakarta, saw in early March the hatching of 26 Komodo eggs, the results of mating between a male Komodo lizard named Rangga and a female, Rinca.
Both Rangga and Rinca arrived at the park in 1998 from their national habitat, the Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
In mid-March, 21 of the hatched eggs produced healthy baby Komodo lizards, while four shrunk because of liquid deficiency and the remaining one disintegrated.
The successful captive breeding of 21 Komodo hatchlings was a significant achievement for the park after struggling with the program for around 30 years.
The achievement cannot be separated from Taman Safari Indonesia director Jansen Manansang’s ambition on his return several years ago from the Czech Republic.
In 2004, the Prague Zoo received a pair of Komodo dragons from Taman Safari Indonesia as part of a wildlife exchange program with the archipelago. The pair then laid three eggs and seven more in 2007 and 2009, respectively. All of those eggs successfully hatched.
After the experience in the Czech Republic, a country with four seasons, Jansen believed the same captive breeding method could also be conducted at Taman Safari Indonesia.
This led to the establishment of Taman Safari Indonesia’s Komodo breeding special team, which comprises the park curator, a veterinarian, a nutritionist and a reptile keeper under his leadership.
The Komodo breeding team’s hard work eventually brought positive results. In April 2016, the team conducted an ultrasonographic examination and spotted the growth of egg follicles in Rinca’s ovaries. The team then brought Rinca and Rangga together in June 2016, and in July, they began mating.
The pair’s successful breeding, which consumed a lot of time and energy, was not only a gift to Taman Safari Indonesia but also a special prize to Indonesia, as Rinca laid her 26 eggs exactly on the country’s 71st Independence Day on Aug. 17, 2016.
Previous Komodo captive breeding programs were conducted at the Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta, the Gembiraloka Zoo in Yogjakarta and the Surabaya Zoo in Surabaya, East Java, but they managed to produce very few eggs.