Although the oriental dragon is worshiped and considered a symbol of good
luck, Emperors have been harvesting them for years for their blood, flesh,
and jewels. While this is unfortunate, the poaching of dragons by hunters
and opportunistic men who deal in the black market sale of their prized
parts have led to their decimation and endangerment.
The conservation of adult dragons is supported by scientists all over the
world, and here nearly all biologists take the position that a series of
refuges are needed in the ranges of all species if dragons are to survive.
There is a bill before the United Nations at this time, which is proposing
sanctuaries set up in the few remaining dragon habitats. Areas that have
been proposed as International Dragon Sanctuaries include: Loch Ness in
Scotland and Lake Okanagan in British Columbia for the protection of the
lake dragon, the vicinity of Mount Fiji and the streams and lakes at its
base for the Oriental flightless dragon, and the entire Yucatan Peninsula
and the Caribbean from Cuba northward for the American flightless Dragon.
The European fire-breathing dragon is now so rare that nobody has been
able to suggest a specific sanctuary, but the mountain ranges of northern
Italy and the higher peaks of Greece are likely areas for consideration.
The best sanctuary for the flying dragons of Asia would probably be the
mountains of the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Koryak and Cydan ranges of
the adjoining portions of Siberia. Political problems make it impossible
to know to what extent protection is now being afforded dragons in this
In North Korea, the flying dragon has been proposed as National Monument
Number 425, and to disturb or kill one is punishable by death. This is
harsh justice indeed, but the Koreans are to be commended for their special
efforts to protect the flocks of flying dragons that still breed in their
Many scientists are lobbying for an international breeding program similar
to the one being tried in the United States for vultures. Wild dragons
have never been successfully brought into captivity; it is not known whether
they could or would ever adjust to such conditions.
Some biologists have suggested taking a few eggs from the wild population
and rearing the hatchlings under foster parents, such as eagles.
Other scientists have suggested that keepers in dragon costume care for
the dragonlings, so that the humans do not "imprint" unnatural parental
stimuli on the young dragons. These dragon-parent surrogates would also
have the responsibility for teaching the dragonlings the basics of draconian
culture and providing them with religious training, including belief in
a Supreme Dragon.
With fewer dragons seen every year, it is becoming more apparent to government
officials, scientists, and the general public that if something isn't done
about the dragon population, they will join the list of other extinct species.