You thought they were a figment of your imagination, but they are for real! An exclusive partnership between Houston Zoo and Lockington Medical Institute (LMI) in Wimbledon, United Kingdom has produced the first known dragon offspring in at least 750 years.
Fossilized dragon eggs were found in 1996 by Rodney Tarrington in a small hamlet outside of Blackpool and have resided at the British Museum since then. Scientists have tried to extract DNA in order to replicate these amazing creatures, but up to now have been unsuccessful.
Three months ago, DNA extraction and replication was successful, and the first dragon was hatched in LMI’s labs. Due to the funding for research provided by the Houston Zoo, LMI has agreed to arrange transport for the animal once it is old enough to make the journey – approximately three months from now.
After the Gorillas habitat opens at the Houston Zoo, the Zoo’s focus will turn toward constructing a naturalistic environment with plenty of horizontal and vertical space for the dragon to grow and to promote natural behaviors such as flying. This new exhibit will be open one year from today, April 1, 2016.
Once the dragon is comfortable in its new home, LMI and Houston Zoo will continue work on creating additional dragons in the hopes of one day producing natural offspring.
Can’t wait until 2016 to see our dragon? Don’t forget to visit Smaug, the Houston Zoo’s resident Komodo dragon, here in the Reptile and Amphibian House at the Houston Zoo!