Endangered crocodiles released to fight extinction

Jan 27, 2011
A local tourist handles a baby crocodile at the Crocodile Farm wildlife rescue and conservation center in Puerto Princesa, Philippines, in 2004. Nineteen of the world's most critically endangered crocodiles have been released into the wild in the Philippines as part of efforts to save the species from extinction.

Nineteen of the world's most critically endangered crocodiles were released Thursday into the wild in the Philippines as part of efforts to save the species from extinction, conservationists said.

The freshwater crocodiles, which had been reared for 18 months at a breeding centre, were set free in a national park in the remote north of the country that is one of just two remaining natural habitats for the reptile.

If they survive, the number of known Philippine crocodiles in the wild will increase by roughly a fifth, according to Marites Balbas, spokeswoman for the Mabuwaya Foundation that is behind the conservation programme.

"The Philippine crocodile is the world's most severely threatened crocodile species with less than 100 adults remaining in the wild. It could go extinct in 10 years if nothing is done," Balbas said.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists the Philippine crocodile as "critically endangered," just one step away from being extinct in the wild.

The Philippine crocodile has plunged to the verge of due to destruction of its habitat, dynamite fishing and killings by humans who consider it dangerous, said Balbas.

However the released crocodiles -- which are only 35 to 50 centimetres (14 to 20 inches) long -- will be safe in the park, according to Balbas.

"There is enough food and people are educated on how to protect them. We actually have groups in the local community who guard the sanctuary. They are aware that killing crocodiles is prohibited," she said.

The crocodiles can grow up to 2.7 metres (nine feet) long.

Thursday's events continue a programme that began in 2005 in which dozens of captive-raised Philippine have been released back into the wild in the Sierra Madre Natural Park in the northern province of Isabela.

Explore further: Brown recluse spider bites crawling upward

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rare crocs found hiding in plain sight in Cambodia

Nov 18, 2009

(AP) -- Conservationists searching for one of the world's most endangered crocodile species say they have found dozens of the reptiles lounging in plain sight - at a wildlife rescue center in Cambodia.

Borneo's crocodiles 'no longer endangered'

Jun 28, 2010

Wildlife officials in Malaysian Borneo are pushing to have its saltwater crocodiles removed from a list of endangered animals, saying the reptile's numbers have strongly recovered in recent years.

Skin demand threatens Nigeria crocs

May 12, 2009

Business is booming at Ismail Dauda's crocodile tannery in northern Nigeria, but environmentalists fear soaring demand for skins could be driving the reptiles to extinction.

Recommended for you

Smarter than a first-grader?

8 hours ago

In Aesop's fable about the crow and the pitcher, a thirsty bird happens upon a vessel of water, but when he tries to drink from it, he finds the water level out of his reach. Not strong enough to knock over ...

How honey bees stay cool

20 hours ago

Honey bees, especially the young, are highly sensitive to temperature and to protect developing bees, adults work together to maintain temperatures within a narrow range. Recently published research led by ...

User comments : 0