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AKRON -- The Akron Zoo lost one of its Komodo dragons Monday after a brief illness.

TNT, a male dragon, had a chronic degenerative condition of his spine which was causing him to have trouble with his rear legs and GI tract. Problems that developed due to a GI shutdown caused his health to decline rapidly over the past week.

He was being closely monitored by the zoo's vet staff, which was keeping him comfortable, but his condition was not treatable, the zoo said in a news release.

TNT was born on October 18, 1998, at the Miami Metro Zoo. He arrived in Akron October 26, 2001, and has been on exhibit in Komodo Kingdom since the exhibit opened on October 1, 2005.

The median life expectancy of a female Komodo dragon in captivity is 12.2 years. However there is no statistical data on males in captivity, according to the zoo.

Because this species' population size in zoos and aquariums is small and they have not been in zoos long enough, there is not enough information right now to give an accurate statement about how long a male of this species typically lives in zoos and aquariums that are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

"We are saddened by our tremendous loss. TNT was a great ambassador for the Akron Zoo and so many in our community have learned a great deal about Komodo dragons during his time here," said L. Patricia Simmons, president & CEO.

"Our staff did such an amazing job caring for him and he will be greatly missed."

The zoo has two other Komodo dragons, Draco and Charlie. These three-year old sisters have been on exhibit since last April after arriving from the Denver Zoo. They will be on exhibit daily together in Komodo Kingdom.

Komodo dragons, a type of monitor lizard, are the world's largest living lizard. Komodo dragons are indigenous to a few Indonesian Islands, including the Island of Komodo.

They are typically found in tropical savanna forests. Komodo dragons will scavenge carcasses or eat live prey ranging from large rodents to water buffalo. Juvenile Komodo dragons like Draco and Charlie, typically will eat small lizards or insects. Komodo dragons are an endangered species due primarily to habitat destruction.

The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. Winter hours are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and admission is $7.00 per person. Children under two are free. The parking fee is $2.00. For more information visit, you can visit the zoo's website or call (330) 375-2550.

Founded in 1953, the Akron Zoo is a non-profit, world conservation Zoo with over 700 animals from around the world. Located just west of Downtown Akron, the Zoo strives to provide a dynamic, financially responsible, guest centered animal experience that is energized by innovation and fun.

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