Posted by: Peter S. Miller, Zookeeper and Rebecca Whitham, Communications
|Loki the Komodo dragon. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.|
Woodland Park Zoo said goodbye this week to a long-time resident, 19-year-old Komodo dragon Loki. Loki’s mobility had been declining over the past year from chronic age-related degenerative joint disease. Keepers had given him supportive care, but we ultimately had to make the tough but humane decision to euthanize him this week once he lost his appetite and developed breathing difficulties that did not respond to treatment.
We know how much each one of the zoo’s animals means to our visitors. Zookeeper Peter S. Miller reflects on what made Loki such a special addition to the zoo:
The Buddha said, “The energy of life is neither created nor destroyed. It moves along from one sentient being to the next.” This week the energy of Loki’s life passed onto its next place. Part will always feel as if it’s with me. We have worked with each other for eight years. We have learned that old dogs (lizards actually) can learn, and learn new tricks much less. I have seen his power, his grace, his agility and his sneakiness. His dining manners were always less than aristocratic, but nevertheless, awe inspiring.
Loki reminded me of valuable lessons: explore fearlessly, learn enthusiastically and never give up, even when your body tells you it can’t go on.
I’m sure the spirit of Loki will live on in the new generation of Komodo Dragons. I already see it in the glint in their eyes.
- Peter S. Miller, Zookeeper
The zoo recently welcomed two young Komodo dragons to our collection. They will make their way onto exhibit this fall. Selat, the zoo’s other adult Komodo dragon, remains on view.
We also said goodbye to another elderly resident, KC, a 23-year-old elk who was also euthanized due to age-related mobility issues this week. We want to take this opportunity to recognize the tremendous care and comfort our zookeepers and the zoo’s animal health staff provides our animals all the way into their old age. Thank you for all you do.