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The City of Sydney has joined forces with the Taronga Foundation to celebrate the Year of the Dragon and raise money to support conservation and breeding programs for the endangered Komodo Dragon.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP announced the Taronga Foundation as the City’s Charity Partner for its 2012 Sydney Chinese New Year Festival today, alongside Maurice Newman AC, Chairman of the Taronga Foundation, and Taronga Zoo’s 30-year-old Komodo Dragon “Tuka”.

Komodo Dragon

“We are delighted to join with the Taronga Foundation to support the important wildlife conservation work the organisation does across Australia and internationally,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The Year of the Dragon is the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate Taronga’s dragons, from the giant Komodo, Tuka, to the small eastern water dragons that roam wild in the Zoo grounds.

“As Sydneysiders and visitors immerse themselves in the 2012 Sydney Chinese New Year Festival – our biggest and best yet – I encourage everyone to spare a thought for this endangered species, and give generously to the Taronga Foundation.”

The Komodo dragon is an endangered species of lizard. Population estimates suggest only about 3000 adults remain in the wild, mostly confirmed to the few islands around Komodo. 

Tuka is a 2.7-metre, 78-kilogram reptile from the volcanic island of Flores. He came to Taronga from Jakarta’s Rangunan Zoo in 1991.

As an ambassador for his wild counterparts, Tuka lives in an open exhibit at the Zoo that contains heated rocks and a heated indoor room, though he prefers to stay outside to mingle with the Zoo’s visitors.

Chinese New Year

 Taronga is committed to Komodo Dragon conservation, supporting the work of the Komodo Survival Program in Indonesia which aims to preserve these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.

“With so few Komodos remaining in the wild we are delighted that the City of Sydney is supporting the Taronga Foundation during its Year of the Dragon festivities and helping to raise awareness about these majestic dragons.” Taronga Foundation Chairman, Maurice Newman AC said.

Taronga has some special Chinese New Year activities planned, find out about them here.

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