Last modified: 28 February 2023

We are sad to share that London Zoo’s much loved Komodo dragon, Ganas, had to be euthanised on Tuesday 21 February, after he was discovered to have an untreatable form of degenerative arthritis.

Knowing him so well, Ganas’s dedicated keepers noticed a slight change in his gait a few months ago, which they, along with the veterinary team, immediately began to investigate while treating him with pain-medication.

When these led to no improvement, the decision was made to take Ganas to the Royal Veterinary College for the most comprehensive diagnostic tests available, including an MRI and a CT scan. 

Komodo dragon CT scan
Komodo dragon prepares for CT scan

These scans revealed a severe form of degenerative arthritis in Ganas’s spine, elbow and ankle joints, for which there is sadly no cure: this came as a huge blow to the team of experts who have cared for Ganas since his arrival at London Zoo from Denmark in 2015.  

Ganas was immediately given pain medication to try and alleviate his symptoms, but unfortunately they offered no relief and it was decided that the kindest outcome was euthanasia. 

Much less is known about disease and illness in reptiles than in other animal groups, which scientists at ZSL and its conservation zoos are working hard to change; the important findings from Ganas’s scans will be shared with wildlife vets and conservationists across the globe to help develop our collective knowledge and understanding of the species. In the meantime, his genetics will be biobanked with Nature’s SAFE, a partnership designed to preserve the living genetics of Endangered species.  

Ganas will be very much missed by both ZSL staff, members and visitors to London Zoo.