Fisherman killed by Komodo dragon

March 24, 2009 at 4:16 PM

JAKARTA, March 24 (UPI) -- An Indonesian fisherman died after being mauled by a Komodo dragon on an island generally barred to humans because of the dangerous reptiles, officials said.

Fransiskus Harum, manager of Komodo National Park, said Tuesday that Muhamad Anwar, 32, died while other fishermen were taking him to a hospital, CNN reported.

"The fisherman was inside the park when he went looking for sugar-apples," Harum said. "The area was forbidden for people to enter as there are a lot of wild dragons."

The Komodo dragon, which can grow to be 10 feet long, is the world's largest lizard. Their saliva is toxic because it contains bacteria that cause a dangerous infection, and they sometimes kill prey by biting it and then waiting until the animals die.

Only 4,000 dragons are believed to remain in the wild, although they have been bred successfully in zoos and wildlife parks. Tourists in the national park must be accompanied by rangers, who tell the story of a Swiss visitor who vanished in Komodo dragon territory, leaving only his camera and glasses, CNN said.

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