Komodo dragon ‘Raja’ dies at Denver Zoo


Raja. Credit: Denver Zoo

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DENVER — Raja, a male Komodo dragon at the Denver Zoo, died over the weekend at the age of 16. The zoo announced Raja’s passing Wednesday.

Raja was born at the zoo in 2003. He lived in the Tropical Discovery exhibit his entire life.

Raja was 8 feet long and weighed about 95 pounds.

“Few animals in Tropical Discovery—or at the Zoo, for that matter—garnered as many ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as Raja, especially when he sauntered along the glass to greet guests eye-to-eye. Raja will be remembered as calm, well-tempered and comfortable around his caretakers,” the zoo said in a Facebook post.

An initial necropsy confirmed Raja had several health problems for which he was already being treated, including spinal disease and arthritis, according to the zoo.

“He received regular physical therapy to alleviate pain and help his mobility, and increased supportive care in his final days as our animal care team noticed a decline in his health,” the zoo said.

The zoo encouraged visitors to go to the Tropical Discovery exhibit and learn more about Komodo dragons, which are classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

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