The Komodo dragon’s name, Rinca, was ideated with the help of the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in SF.
The San Francisco Zoo is one of the country’s foremost zoological centers. (It’s arguably also among the most scenic animal parks… on this continent.) Since it opened in 1929 — a proximal decision after captivity concerns around Golden Gate Park’s bygone era of large exotic fauna grew throughout the 1910s and early 1920s — the SF Zoo has grown into a touchstone for locals and tourists alike to convene with their biophilic connection to the natural world around them. (It’s like Avatar… but, like… IRL.)
Among the zoo’s on-display animals are now two Komodo dragons; the newest of the pair is a young male example of the largest lizard species on the planet, which routinely grows to over 150 lbs… all while displaying a surprising level of intelligence.
When the lizard made its public debut in November, the three-year-old ectotherm became instantly memorable and a darling of the public. And now, we know his very apt name: Rinca.
“Our new 4-year-old male Komodo dragon’s name is Rinca,” reads an Instagram caption from the San Francisco Zoo about the newly displayed Komodo dragon. “Rinca is one of the three largest islands in the Komodo region native to the dragons, and also symbolizes Indonesia’s diversity, harmony, and cultural wealth.”
Like his female display mate, Rinca received enrichment and training practices from on-site zookeepers. Capable of play and recognizing individual humans, Komodo dragons are effectively the border collies of the reptile realm; they need a stimulating environment and daily routines in order to remain mentally fit.
Per the zoo, Rinca is already acclimating well to his new NorCal habitat: “He has adjusted well to his new habitat and enjoys training sessions with his caretakers where some of his favorite reinforcements are whole prey items such as rats or mice and rabbits.”
His iconoclastic name came with the help of the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in SF.
We can’t wait to mumble his name through the thick-panned glass as we ogle at him, perhaps while he devours a small mammal.
Feature image: Courtesy of the San Francisco Zoo