Saturday, 23 February 2013

Indesign Brief : Komodo Dragon Research

As part of the Indesign workshops we have done, we now need to create a DPS on indesign that communicates an animal. My animal which was selected at random is the....

Komodo Dragon

I need to decide a purpose, audience and tone for this piece.

What is a Komodo Dragon ?

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar.

 A member of the monitor lizard family (Varanidae), it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of 3 metres (10 ft) in rare cases and weighing up to around 150 kilograms (330 lb). Their unusual size has been attributed to island gigantism, since no other carnivorous animals fill the niche on the islands where they live.
However, recent research suggests the large size of Komodo dragons may be better understood as representative of a relict population of very large varanid lizards that once lived across Indonesia and Australia, most of which, along with other megafauna, died out after the Pleistocene. Fossils very similar to V. komodoensis have been found in Australia dating to greater than 3.8 million years ago, and its body size remained stable on Flores, one of the handful of Indonesian islands where it is currently found, over the last 900,000 years, "a time marked by major faunal turnovers, extinction of the island's megafauna, and the arrival of early hominids by 880 ka."
As a result of their size, these lizards dominate the ecosystems in which they live. Komodo dragons hunt and ambush prey including invertebrates, birds, and mammals. Their group behaviour in hunting is exceptional in the reptile world. The diet of big Komodo dragons mainly consists of deer, though they also eat considerable amounts of carrion. Komodo dragons also occasionally attack humans in the area of West Manggarai Regency where they live in Indonesia.
Mating begins between May and August, and the eggs are laid in September. About 20 eggs are deposited in abandoned megapode nests or in a self-dug nesting hole. The eggs are incubated for seven to eight months, hatching in April, when insects are most plentiful. Young Komodo dragons are vulnerable and therefore dwell in trees, safe from predators and cannibalistic adults. They take about eight to 9 years to mature, and are estimated to live up to 30 years.
Komodo dragons were first recorded by Western scientists in 1910. Their large size and fearsome reputation make them popular zoo exhibits. In the wild, their range has contracted due to human activities, and they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. They are protected under Indonesian law, and a national park, Komodo National Park, was founded to aid protection efforts.

The Komodo dragon is also known as the Komodo monitor or the Komodo Island monitor in scientific literature, although this is not very common. To the natives of Komodo Island, it is referred to as ora, buaya darat (land crocodile) or biawak raksasa (giant monitor).

In the wild, an adult Komodo dragon usually weighs around 70 kg (150 lb), although captive specimens often weigh more. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, an average adult male will weigh 79 to 91 kg (170 to 200 lb) and measure 2.59 m (8.5 ft), while an average female will weigh 68 to 73 kg (150 to 160 lb) and measure 2.29 m (7.5 ft). The largest verified wild specimen was 3.13 m (10.3 ft) long and weighed 166 kg (370 lb), including undigested food. The Komodo dragon has a tail as long as its body, as well as about 60 frequently replaced, serrated teeth that can measure up to 2.5 cm (1 in) in length. Its saliva is frequently blood-tinged, because its teeth are almost completely covered by gingival tissue that is naturally lacerated during feeding. This creates an ideal culture for the bacteria that live in its mouth. It also has a long, yellow, deeply forked tongue.

The Komodo dragon is able to see as far away as 300 m (980 ft), but because its retinas only contain cones, it is thought to have poor night vision. The Komodo dragon is able to see in color, but has poor visual discrimination of stationary objects.

The Komodo dragon prefers hot and dry places, and typically lives in dry, open grassland, savanna, and tropical forest at low elevations. As an ectotherm, it is most active in the day, although it exhibits some nocturnal activity. Komodo dragons are solitary, coming together only to breed and eat. They are capable of running rapidly in brief sprints up to 20 km/h (12 mph), diving up to 4.5 m (15 ft), and climbing trees proficiently when young through use of their strong claws. To catch out of reach prey, the Komodo dragon may stand on its hind legs and use its tail as a support. As it matures, its claws are used primarily as weapons, as its great size makes climbing impractical.
For shelter, the Komodo dragon digs holes that can measure from 1–3 m (3–10 ft) wide with its powerful forelimbs and claws. Because of its large size and habit of sleeping in these burrows, it is able to conserve body heat throughout the night and minimize its basking period the morning after. The Komodo dragon hunts in the afternoon, but stays in the shade during the hottest part of the day. These special resting places, usually located on ridges with cool sea breezes, are marked with droppings and are cleared of vegetation. They serve as strategic locations from which to ambush deer

The Komodo dragon is a vulnerable species and is found on the IUCN Red List. There are approximately 4,000 to 5,000 living Komodo dragons in the wild. Their populations are restricted to the islands of Gili Motang (100), Gili Dasami (100), Rinca (1,300), Komodo (1,700), and Flores (perhaps 2,000). However, there are concerns that there may presently be only 350 breeding females. To address these concerns, the Komodo National Park was founded in 1980 to protect Komodo dragon populations on islands including Komodo, Rinca, and Padar. Later, the Wae Wuul and Wolo Tado Reserves were opened on Flores to aid with Komodo dragon conservation.
Komodo dragons avoid encounters with humans. Juveniles are very shy and will flee quickly into a hideout if a human comes closer than about 100 metres (330 ft). Older animals will also retreat from humans from a shorter distance away. If cornered, they will react aggressively by gaping their mouth, hissing, and swinging their tail. If they are disturbed further, they may start an attack and bite. Although there are anecdotes of unprovoked Komodo dragons attacking or preying on humans, most of these reports are either not reputable or caused by defensive bites. Only a very few cases are truly the result of unprovoked attacks by abnormal individuals which lost their fear towards humans.
Volcanic activity, earthquakes, loss of habitat, fire, loss of prey due to poaching, tourism, and illegal poaching of the dragons themselves have all contributed to the vulnerable status of the Komodo dragon. Under Appendix I of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), commercial trade of skins or specimens is illegal.
On Padar, a former population of the Komodo Dragon became extinct, of which the last individuals were seen in 1975. It is widely assumed that the Komodo dragon died out on Padar after a strong decline of the populations of large ungulate prey, for which poaching was most likely responsible.

Komodo dragons have long been great zoo attractions, where their size and reputation make them popular exhibits. They are, however, rare in zoos because they are susceptible to infection and parasitic disease if captured from the wild, and do not readily reproduce

I have highlighted most of the information I felt was the most interesting. From this I am having thoughts on a piece that is perhaps info graphic, or a piece that is aimed at conservation, or a zoo promotion.

google images

google images

Komodo Plush, shows that it could interest children

I found that Starbucks do their own blend of coffee called Komodo Dragon Blend, however I feel that a piece on this would not be focussed on the animal but more so on the coffee.

 Woodcut of the animal, shows a different depiction of the dragon other than a photograph. is a comprehensive guide to the hotels, restaurants, and tour activities on the main island of Flores and Komodo National Park.
 Package Price  : USD 900/ Person ( min 2 people )
This package is designed for those who like adventure  and  love  the nature.
Sunday, June 16: Horseshoe Bay / RincaBecause this region possesses geology unlike any other place on Earth, the three islands that comprise Komodo National Park have developed endemic species that epitomize nature at its wildest. Chief among them: the famed monitor lizard better known as the Komodo dragon. A sharp-eyed predator and notorious scavenger, the ora (as it’s called locally) is the largest lizard species in the world, growing to nearly 10 feet long and 150 pounds. The dragon’s unusually massive size is the result of island gigantism, a biological phenomenon in which animals isolated on an island increase dramatically in size. Spend the morning on a park ranger-guided walk into the forests in search of its most famous inhabitants, plus deer, wild pigs, monkeys and birds including yellow-crested cockatoos, doves and terns.
Call (888) 993 – 8687to book your spot on this tour.Questions? Email us at
Take a guided tour to look for Komodo dragons in the forests of Komodo National Park.
Komodo National Park is a place of raw natural beauty. Its islands are home to such exotic animals as the giant carnivorous Komodo dragon, and its crystal-clear waters are home to thriving corals and a variety of fish. WWF's newest snorkeling adventure gives you an opportunity to see both.

I think I would like to make an editorial piece. I would like to promote the Komodo Dragon viewing part of the tour above. I could imagine this piece in a brochure advertising the tour.

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