Siamese crocodiles are one of the rarest species of crocodiles in the world and have sadly found themselves on the critically endangered list with fewer than 500 left in the wild, due to poaching, habitat loss, and breeding with other crocodile species.
Cambodia’s Environment Ministry and the World Wildlife Fund have been searching for any signs of a breeding population in the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary for more than ten years.
Luckily, after their long search, they finally came across footprints and other signs of life earlier in the year. This month, they got to work and spent four days looking for this incredible species during their regular field survey in the Srepok wilderness during the nesting and hatching seasons.
Eventually, they discovered eight Siamese crocodile hatchlings in a river in the sanctuary and were able to get footage. This is the first-ever photographic evidence of a Siamese crocodile breeding population.
The reptile hatchlings remain safe in their wild habitat, which is being protected and guarded by the sanctuary rangers. This will hopefully allow the species to grow and continue to breed.
In a statement, Environment Minister Say Samal called the discovery “such rewarding news,” and says it “highlights the importance of the Srepok wildness area as a global hotspot of high potential for reversing biodiversity loss and for the restoration of globally significant wildlife.”
Milou Groenenberg, WWF’s Biodiversity Research and Monitoring Manager, says this development is a “breakthrough in the study of the species.”
“We were previously not certain if the resident population still contained breeding pairs to date, nor if any nests existed and if clutches successfully hatched,” she said in the statement.
“The Srepok discovery indeed raises hope for Siamese crocodile conservation and survival in the wild, and is a significant finding for the species in Cambodia and globally.”
The Srepok population will continue to be protected by the Ministry of Environment and WWF, who will perform their regular boat and foot patrols to make sure no one is attempting encroachment or any illegal activities in the area.
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