No place for crocodiles in Philippines: official

September 14, 2011
A captured crocodile is seen in a cage in Manila in 2001. Efforts to save the Philippine crocodile, a "critically endangered" reptile, could go in vain as bureaucrats oppose their release into the wild, a top Philippine environment official said Wednesday.

Efforts to save the Philippine crocodile, a "critically endangered" reptile, could go in vain as bureaucrats oppose their release into the wild, a top Philippine environment official said Wednesday.

A 24-year-old captive breeding programme in the country has produced about 7,000 Philippine and saltwater crocodiles, but they have nowhere to go, the environment secretary Ramon Paje told reporters.

Releasing them into rivers and marshes would ideally lead to the delisting of the Philippine crocodile -- Crocodylus mindorensis -- from the country's "critically endangered" species list, he said.

"The problem is, we cannot delist it yet because the rules say you can only delist from the if it's already surviving in its natural habitat," Paje said.

"There is no mayor anywhere in the Philippines who would allow the release of crocodiles in his municipality."

The environment ministry has been threatened with lawsuits over such planned releases, he said, with local officials expressing concern that the reptiles could attack locals in surrounding areas.

Government-employed crocodile hunters captured a 21-foot (6.4-metre) saltwater crocodile from the southern Agusan marsh in early September after it reportedly killed two people.

Local officials from the northern towns of San Mariano and Palanan complained that they were not consulted when 19 captive-bred Philippine crocodiles were released recently in a nearby , Paje said.

Paje did not say how the national government planned to resolve the deadlock.

The International Union for the in Switzerland listed Crocodylus mindorensis -- a large freshwater crocodile found only in the Philippines -- on its "critically endangered" list in 1996.

Experts working with the environment ministry say there are less than 100 of them left in the wild.

The ministry says the Philippine crocodile and the are "critically endangered" mainly due to loss of habitat as a result of human population growth and expansion.

Explore further: Rare crocs found hiding in plain sight in Cambodia

Related Stories

Rare crocs found hiding in plain sight in Cambodia

November 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'

June 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.

Endangered crocodiles released to fight extinction

January 27, 2011

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.

Malaysia scientists tag Borneo saltwater crocodile

June 29, 2011

Wildlife researchers in Malaysia are to track a saltwater crocodile by satellite, they said Wednesday, in a bid to find out why nearly 40 people have been attacked on Borneo island over a decade.

20 endangered Siamese crocodiles hatch in Laos

August 26, 2011

(AP) -- One of the world's rarest crocodile species has moved a little bit further from extinction with the hatching of 20 wild eggs plucked from a nest found in southern Laos.

Philippines urged to free giant crocodile

September 10, 2011

An animal rights group urged the Philippines to free what is thought to be the world's largest crocodile in captivity, even though it allegedly killed two people.

Recommended for you

A better way to read the genome

October 9, 2015

UConn researchers have sequenced the RNA of the most complicated gene known in nature, using a hand-held sequencer no bigger than a cell phone.

Threat posed by 'pollen thief' bees uncovered

October 9, 2015

A new University of Stirling study has uncovered the secrets of 'pollen thief' bees - which take pollen from flowers but fail to act as effective pollinators - and the threat they pose to certain plant species.

Mapping the protein universe

October 9, 2015

To understand how life works, figure out the proteins first. DNA is the architect of life, but proteins are the workhorses. After proteins are built using DNA blueprints, they are constantly at work breaking down and building ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.