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25 November 2009

CONSERVATION HOPE FOR THE CRITICALLY ENDANGERED SIAMESE CROCODILE



The Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) is a Critically Endangered species with small populations living in continental Southeast Asia and the islands of Java and Borneo. The species no longer occurs in the vast majority of its former range: it was hunted in so large numbers that it was declared as “Extinct in the wild” by the 1992 IUCN Crocodile Action Plan.


Some threats to the species are captures in the wild, river hydroelectric projects, and increasing human pressure on natural habitats. There are some specimens in captivity, but most of them are hybrids.
This year, DNA analyses revealed that 35 crocs of the 69 rescued crocodiles at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, in Cambodia, were pure breed Siamese crocs. The finding is thought to be critical for the long-term preservation of the species, through a captive breeding program and later release of offspring in suitable natural habitats. Fauna & Flora International, the Cambodian Forestry Administration, and Wildlife Alliance are providing technical support for this task. This action will start in 2010; but, since sexual maturation of the species is slow, it will take more than a decade before the program yields more positive results.


We thank Fauna & Flora International and the Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Programme for allowing use of the photos shown here.
Read more on this story at: www.fauna&flora.org: Siamese_crocs

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