KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Zoo Knoxville is welcoming a new resident to the area, "Slim", the Komodo dragon.
Slim is 8-years-old and arrived Wednesday evening from the Bronx Zoo in New York City.
He is now the “Komodo in Residence” at the zoo’s Wee Play Adventure building and can be viewed during daytime zoo hours.
Hatched in 2012 at Memphis Zoo, Slim went to live at Bronx Zoo in New York City for a stint before returning to Tennessee.
Zoo Knoxville works with a collaborative network of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to maintain a healthy and viable population of Komodo dragons in North America.
Populations are vulnerable in their native range of the islands of Indonesia.
Although Komodo dragons have excellent navigation skills and athletic ability, they rarely venture out of the area they are hatched in, putting them at risk due to climate change, sea-level rise, and human threats like poaching and burning of habitat to clear it for other uses.
Komodo dragons can reach 10-feet in length and weigh 330lbs. when mature, making them the largest species of lizard on Earth.
Slim currently weighs about 50lbs. and measures just over 5 feet long. He will reach full maturity around age 12.
Masks will be required for ages 12 and up to enter indoor public areas such as Wee Play Adventure, restrooms, restaurants, and the Zoo Shop.
Guests will be asked to show they have one in their possession for entry to the zoo.
Event attendees are asked to help maintain a safe environment by maintaining proper physical distancing of 6 feet between groups and wearing a mask if they cannot do so, washing their hands and using hand sanitizer stations throughout the zoo frequently, and staying home if you are sick or in a high-risk group.