Bush's Komodo Dragon Dies at Ohio Zoo

The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 6, 2007; 1:23 PM

CINCINNATI -- Naga, a 24-year-old Komodo dragon given to the first President Bush as a gift from the Indonesian government, has died of an abdominal infection at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, zoo officials said.

"He had been ill for about three weeks. He quit eating and got real sluggish in January. We took X-rays and did some blood work, but in the end, we couldn't help him," zoo veterinarian Mark Campbell said.

Naga, who sired 32 offspring, died Sunday.

Bush donated Naga to Cincinnati, where the Komodo dragon had lived in a custom-designed enclosure at the zoo since 1990.

The zoo considered him a star attraction, estimating that 1 million of 1.3 million annual guests visited Naga's enclosure. When the Komodo visited 10 zoos in 1995 as a conservation ambassador, T-shirts were printed with a list of tour stops on the back.

With mate Sabat, a female on loan from Washington's National Zoo, Naga fathered Komodos that were loaned to other zoos.

Komodos, native to Indonesia, are the world's largest lizards and have no natural predators.


On the Net:

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden: http://www.cincyzoo.org/

© 2007 The Associated Press