Komodo dragon attack repelled by woman with a broom

Komodo dragon attack handled by 83-year-old Indonesian woman with a broom. The Komodo dragon is the largest living species of lizard. Attacks by Komodo dragons are rare, but growing. 

(AP Photo/Dave Thompson/File)
Flora, a Komodo dragon, walks around her enclosure at Chester Zoo, Chester, England. An 83-year-old woman fought off a Komodo dragon in Indonesia with a broom.

An 83-year-old Indonesian woman has used a broom to fight off an attack from a Komodo dragon.

Komodo National Park official Heru Rudiharto says the 2-meter (6.5-foot) -long giant lizard bit the left hand of Haifha on Tuesday while she was near her house on Rinca island.

Haifha, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, hit the giant lizard's nose several times with a broom until it left go of her hand. Her neighbors heard her scream and drove the animal away. It took 20 stiches to repair Haifa's hand.

Endangered Komodo dragons are found in the wild in eastern Indonesia. They can grow longer than 3 meters (10 feet). Fewer than 4,000 are believed to be alive.

The Associated Press reports that attacks are rare. But they have occurred with more frequency in recent years.

All of the estimated 2,500 left in the wild can be found within the 700-square-mile (1,810-square-kilometer) Komodo National Park, mostly on its two largest islands, Komodo and Rinca. The lizards on neighboring Padar were wiped out in the 1980s when hunters killed their main prey, deer.

Though poaching is illegal, the sheer size of the park — and a shortage of rangers — makes it almost impossible to patrol, said Heru Rudiharto, a biologist and reptile expert. Villagers say the dragons are hungry and more aggressive toward humans because their food is being poached, though park officials are quick to disagree.

The giant lizards have always been dangerous, said Heru Rudiharto, a biologist and reptile expert. However tame they may appear, lounging beneath trees and gazing at the sea from white-sand beaches, they are fast, strong and deadly.

The animals are believed to have descended from a larger lizard on Indonesia's main island Java or Australia around 30,000 years ago.

Another species of monitor lizard, a close relative of the Komodo dragon, was recently discovered in Indonesia.

As reported by LiveScience.com, "The lizard, whose scientific name is Varanus obor, is also called by its popular names, Torch monitor and Sago monitor. It's called Torch monitor because of its bright orange head with a glossy black body. "Obor" means torch in Indonesian.

The newfound lizard is a close relative of the intimidating Komodo dragon, as well as the fruit-eating monitor lizard recently reported from the Philippines."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.