19 baby Siamese crocs released in Laos

Feb 21, 2013
Members of the Village Crocodile Conservation Group prepare to release three of the 19 Siamese crocodiles. Credit: Alex McWilliam/WCS

The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today the successful release of 19 critically endangered baby Siamese crocodiles into a local wetland in Lao PDR, where they will be repatriated into the wild.

The 19-month-old hatchlings, approximately 70 cm (27 inches) in length, are part of a head-starting program where are hatched at the Lao Zoo for eventual release into their .

Conservationists estimate that less than 250 Siamese crocodiles remain in the wild due to overhunting and .

The release took place in the village of Than Soum in the Xe Champhone wetland complex in Savanakhet Province near where the eggs of the 19 crocodiles were found during wildlife surveys in 2011.

The hatchlings were transported from the Lao Zoo to a 'soft release' pen and will remain for several months to acclimate with the area. Members of the Village Crocodile will guard the pen and provide supplementary feeding of the hatchlings to ensure their survival. Once the rainy season begins, the water level in the wetland will rise and allow the crocodiles to swim away, where they will be monitored periodically by .

A public ceremony will take place on March 6th in Than Soum where local community members will celebrate this collaborative effort with WCS, Government of Lao PDR, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Minmetals Resources Limited, and the Lao Zoo.

WCS Lao PDR Program designed and implemented the release as part of the Community-based Crocodile Recovery and Livelihood Improvement Project. The goal of the program is the recovery of the local Siamese crocodile population and restoration of associated wetlands, linked by socio- that improve local livelihoods.

"We are extremely pleased with the success of this collaborative program and believe it is an important step in contributing to the conservation of the species by involving local communities in long term wetland management," said Alex McWilliam a conservation biologist with WCS's Lao PDR Program. "The head starting component of this integrated WCS program represents a significant contribution to the conservation of this magnificent animal in the wild."

Rick Watsford, General Manager, MMG Lane Xang Minerals Limited Sepon, said: "MMG is proud to support the work of the Government of Lao PDR and the WCS in relation to this program. This support demonstrates our company's commitment contributing positively to the communities in which we operate."

Joe Walston, WCS Executive Director for Asia Programs, said: "Successful conservation is about partnerships – whether it's at the global level with climate change and wildlife trade or the local level with tigers and crocs – the collective support of local communities, governments, and the private sector in Laos makes stories like this so encouraging."

Classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Siamese crocodile grows up to 10 feet in length. The species has been eliminated from much of its former range through Southeast Asia and parts of Indonesia by overhunting and habitat degradation and loss.

In 2014, the head-starting component of the program will be taken on by in the Xe Champhone wetland complex. WCS has already conducted training for this transition and implemented a trial of rearing young crocodiles at Than Soum village.

Explore further: Researchers detail newly discovered deer migration

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

20 endangered Siamese crocodiles hatch in Laos

Aug 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.

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.

No place for crocodiles in Philippines: official

Sep 14, 2011

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.

Limestone leaf warbler: New bird species discovered

Dec 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A diminutive, colorful bird living in the rocky forests of Laos and Vietnam has been discovered by a team of scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, Lao PDR Department of Forestry, Swedish University ...

Recommended for you

Invasive vines swallow up New York's natural areas

3 hours ago

(Phys.org) —When Antonio DiTommaso, a Cornell weed ecologist, first spotted pale swallow-wort in 2001, he was puzzled by it. Soon he noticed many Cornell old-field edges were overrun with the weedy vines. ...

Citizen scientists match research tool when counting sharks

18 hours ago

Shark data collected by citizen scientists may be as reliable as data collected using automated tools, according to results published April 23, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Gabriel Vianna from The University of Wes ...

Researchers detail newly discovered deer migration

Apr 23, 2014

A team of researchers including University of Wyoming scientists has documented the longest migration of mule deer ever recorded, the latest development in an initiative to understand and conserve ungulate ...

How Australia got the hump with one million feral camels

Apr 23, 2014

A new study by a University of Exeter researcher has shed light on how an estimated one million-strong population of wild camels thriving in Australia's remote outback have become reviled as pests and culled ...

Former Iron Curtain still barrier for deer

Apr 23, 2014

The Iron Curtain was traced by an electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West. It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier—and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it ...

Humpback protections downgrade clears way for pipeline

Apr 22, 2014

Environmentalist activists on Tuesday decried Canada's downgrading of humpback whale protections, suggesting the decision was fast-tracked to clear a major hurdle to constructing a pipeline to the Pacific ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

A 'quantum leap' in encryption technology

Toshiba Research Europe, BT, ADVA Optical Networking and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK's National Measurement Institute, today announced the first successful trial of Quantum Key Distribution ...