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Australia’s Queensland Zoo’s Five-year-old Komodo Dragon ‘acts more like Dog than Land crocodile’

Kozzie, along with his seven brothers and sisters, was imported into Australia five years ago from a Los Angeles zoo

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Crocodile and a Turtle (Representational Image), Flickr
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Sydney, Nov 1, 2016 : A five-year-old Komodo Dragon in Australia’s Queensland zoo has been described to be more like a puppy dog than a man-eating land crocodile, media reported.

Port Douglas-based Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures zoo operations manager Michael O’Brien told Xinhua news agency that the 1.9 metre long reptile named Kozzie was an intelligent lizard that genuinely took interest in its surroundings and was not a threat to humans.

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When we work in his enclosure he tries to climb on you and that is very un-reptile like,” O’Brien said.

“He seeks out human attention,” he added.

O’Brien believes that the daily contact that Kozzie has with the zoo keepers has made it impossible for him to look at humans as food.

“It’s very pretty rare occurrence for Komodo’s (to eat humans) as their diet includes goats and water buffaloes,” O’Brien said.

“Kozzie has never bitten anyone and has acclimatised being around people.”

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“He recognised that his food is rats, beef, chicken and not its keepers that he wants to make a meal of, which is good,” he said.

Kozzie, along with his seven brothers and sisters, was imported into Australia five years ago from a Los Angeles zoo.

“We have had Kozzie for three years and we are planning a premium product in the next few weeks which will allow the public to interact with him,” he said, adding that the new attraction will be opened to children above 10 years of age.

Komodo dragons which are native to Indonesia are capable of reaching lengths of up to 3.1 metres.

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The reptiles are protected under Indonesian law with the government setting up the Komodo National Park in 1980 to protect the animal from extinction.

Also known as land crocodiles, these carnivores are known to live till about 60 years.

O’Brien said although Kozzie seemed friendly towards his keepers, they were aware that he was still a reptile that could attack and always had their guard up in case of an unwanted situation. (IANS)

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Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: Stray Dogs Receive Treatment From a US-Based Team of Veterinarians

The dogs survived despite what was called “open season,” when soldiers were allowed to hunt the animals after the nuclear disaster

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Chernobyl
Stray dogs near the ghost city of Prypyat near Chernobyl. RFERL

Chernobyl, August 23, 2017: A Boston-based international animal-welfare group says it is sending a veterinary team to Ukraine to treat dogs near the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The Four Paws group said on August 20 that hundreds of descendants of abandoned dogs in the Chernobyl area are wandering in and around the destroyed reactor and many live in areas with radioactive contamination, including in the ghost city of Prypyat.

The veterinarians will join a group of other experts already in the region to provide rabies vaccinations, medical treatment, and neutering services to dogs living within the so-called “exclusion zone.”

“Due to wild animals who also live within the exclusion zone, the stray dogs are often infected with rabies, posing a risk to people who work at the plant,” the group said.

ALSO READ: Man from Taiwan Builds Wheelchairs for the Injured and Disabled Dogs 

The dogs survived despite what was called “open season,” when soldiers were allowed to hunt the animals after the nuclear disaster, the group said.

“Originally, the dogs retreated to the surrounding woods after the exclusion zone was established, but packs of wolves and food scarcity forced them back to the abandoned city and toward the still-active nuclear plant,” said Julie Sanders, Four Paws international director of companion animals.

“There, the workers began to feed the dogs and they have stayed ever since,” she said.

The explosion and fire at the Chernobyl plant on April 26, 1986, was the world’s worst civilian nuclear accident and has left radioactivity levels high in areas around the plant.

Work has been under way since 2010 to build a massive shelter over the damaged reactor and seal in about 200 tons of uranium thought to be still there. (RFE/RL)