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The search for Victoria’s missing dragons
Once widespread in the grasslands of Victoria, the elusive Grassland Earless Dragon has not been seen in the state since the late 1960’s.
In January and February of 2016, Zoos Victoria led surveys to search for the missing dragon. More than 400,000 motion-activated images were captured and although we recorded no dragons, we did get a glimpse of a few other critters who call the grasslands home.
The Grassland Earless Dragon likes habitat with elevated rocks and sparse native grasses making it easier for them to locate and catch their favourite food, ants. Once a survey site is chosen, a small tube (3cm wide) is hammered into the ground below the camera. The tube imitates a spider hole in the hope of attracting the attention of the inquisitive dragon.
The decline of the Grassland Earless Dragon in Victoria is thought to be mainly due to loss of habitat and drought. The dragon is one of Zoos Victoria’s 20 Priority Threatened Species, many of which are unrecognisable to Australians yet all at very real risk of extinction in as few as three years.
Lesser-known local species need few things as much as they need community support. Please help by sharing this story on social media. Who knows, maybe one of your friends has unknowingly rediscovered a local species.