Dr Andy Phillips, a lizard expert from ex San Diego Zoo was in town! Why? How come? What for?
He came to Komodo National Park to give training sessions for PT Putri Naga Komodo’s staff. The four days training by Dr Andy Phillips was held on November 17th-18th, 2009 on Komodo Island, November 19th on Rinca Island and November 20th in PNK’s office in Labuan Bajo, Flores.
Dr Andy Phillips discussed several topics, such as geology of the islands of Komodo National Park, the evolution of komodo dragons and related species around the world, latest scientific findings about komodo dragons as well as some interesting key facts about this unique species.
Some of the interesting facts that Dr Andy Phillips shared with us were: apparently, komodo dragons have 3 eyes and 2 penises!!! Only 3 days/year that the female dragons have the desire to do intercourse with the male dragons and during these 3 days, the female dragons will extract a special body odor, so that the male dragons will notice that it’s the time to make babies! Interesting, isn’t it?
All information given is very useful for naturalist guides who provide information to tourists daily in Loh Liang and Loh Buaya, as well as for PNK’s staff in general. The more we know about the dragons, the better
During his stay on the islands, Dr Andy Phillips also helped PNK to develop a low-tech monitoring program for komodo dragons and its prey species. So, while the naturalist guides are taking tourists walking around the Park, they can record the density of the species that they encounter during the trekking.
This monitoring results will show which types of species that the tourists will most likely see on each trail as well as the probabilities of seeing them. It will also allow us to assess the impact of tourism activity on each trail.
It is a long term monitoring project. The naturalist guides will collect data everyday. The Conservation Department team will then compile all the data and analyze the results.
On behalf of PNK, we thanked Dr Andy Phillips for giving us such a useful training session, full of interesting key facts about komodo dragons!