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					                 Aquarium Komodo Dragon to be June “Bride”
A June wedding of sorts is planned for the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center’s 5-year-
old female Komodo dragon, Kiki. On Saturday, June 18, she will travel to Canada’s Toronto
Zoo to meet a prospective mate identified earlier in the year as a good genetic match by the
San Diego Zoo’s population geneticist. If introductions go well, both the Aquarium and Zoo hope
the pair will produce eggs, which may result in the hatching of young Komodos about seven or
eight months after they’re laid.

Chip Harshaw, curator of reptiles & mammals for the Aquarium, expressed excitement about the
possibility of the Aquarium contributing to the genetic diversity of the captive Komodo population
with one of its animals. “Komodo dragons are endangered in the wild for a variety of reasons,
including human encroachment and habitat destruction,” said Harshaw. “Being asked to
participate in a breeding program involving a very high profile endangered species clearly
demonstrates the respect and trust we have earned among the zoo and aquarium community.
We are privileged to be a part of an international effort attempting to preserve the future of this
species.”

Komodo dragons, which can weigh up to 200 lbs. and grow to 9 feet long, occupy just four small
islands in Indonesia and are part of the Aquarium’s Restless Planet. The Aquarium’s two male
dragons, Teman and Sanchez, will remain on exhibit while Kiki is on loan.

Today is the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center’s 25th Anniversary and it will continue
with a year-long celebration of this significant milestone.

The Virginia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, and
the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. The Aquarium is among the first
attractions in the state to become certified as a Virginia Green Attraction. It is an authority on
the state's aquatic and marine environments featuring more than 800,000 gallons of aquariums
and live animal habitats, plus hundreds of hands-on exhibits. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with
extended summer hours to 6 p.m., the Aquarium is located at 717 General Booth Boulevard in
Virginia Beach. For more information, call (757) 385-FISH (3474) or click on
VirginiaAquarium.com.

				
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posted:7/9/2011
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