ATLANTA (AP) — Zoo Atlanta officials say an elderly Komodo dragon has been euthanized after staff noticed significant declines in his mobility and behavior.
In a statement Monday, zoo spokeswoman Keisha Hines said the 20-year-old Komodo dragon — named Slasher — was exhibiting behavior that suggested age-related complications were impacting his quality of life.
Hines says Slasher hatched at the Smithsonian National Zoo in October of 1992 and was sent to Zoo Atlanta in July of 1993. Slasher helped the zoo launch its Komodo Dragon Wild Encounter program, which allowed visitors to feed the giant reptile.
Zoo officials say Komodo dragons, which are native to Indonesia, are the world's largest lizard species and can hunt prey as large as deer. Hines says the oldest Komodo dragon documented in captivity lived to be 26.