Zoo Knoxville Saddened by Death of Beloved Komodo Dragon

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Zoo Knoxville Saddened by Death of Beloved Komodo Dragon

Posted: 06/17/2019
Khaleesi-Komodo-DragonZoo Knoxville is saddened to announce the death of beloved Komodo dragon, Khaleesi.  

Khaleesi had recently been exhibiting behavior that indicated she was carrying eggs, and was transported to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine for a CT scan on Friday to confirm she was gravid.  Although she required some assistance Friday afternoon to recover from the anesthesia administered to allow vets to perform the scan, she appeared to be rebounding the following day.  She was being monitored closely by her caretakers and vet team, but she was discovered deceased during a check early Monday morning.  Initial necropsy results indicate the cause of death was an infection in her reproductive tract that was not apparent on the CT scan.

“Khaleesi was an icon of the zoo,” said Phil Colclough, Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Education.  “Despite being a ferocious-looking dragon, she was incredibly gentle, and was a powerful ambassador who inspired our guests to learn about reptiles and reptile conservation.  Her intelligence and charisma were obvious and she was beloved by our zoo staff and guests alike.  This is a painful loss for all of us.”

Khaleesi, named for the popular “Game of Thrones” character, was hatched in 2010 at Los Angeles Zoo.  She came to Zoo Knoxville in 2011 after a brief stay at Zoo Atlanta.