TECH Conservationist group spots 15 babies of nearly-extinct Siamese crocodiles in SW Cambodia lake

TECH

Conservationist group spots 15 babies of nearly-extinct Siamese crocodiles in SW Cambodia lake

Xinhua

09:50, September 12, 2020

Photo released by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on Sept. 11, 2020 shows a baby Siamese crocodile swimming in a natural lake in Koh Kong Province, Cambodia. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on Friday released pictures and a video clip showing critically endangered baby Siamese crocodiles swimming in a natural lake in Sre Ambel district of Southwest Cambodia's Koh Kong Province. (Photo: Xinhua)

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on Friday released pictures and a video clip showing critically endangered baby Siamese crocodiles swimming in a natural lake in Sre Ambel district of Southwest Cambodia's Koh Kong Province.

The images were taken weeks ago by a patrol from WCS's Crocodile Nest Protection Team working in collaboration with the Fisheries Administration and Koh Kong Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, said a WCS's press statement.

"The team estimates 15 hatchlings, each around 30 centimeters long, are swimming in the lake," the statement said.

Due to low rainfall this year, the wetlands are unseasonably shallow, providing less shelter than in previous years.

The Siamese crocodile is listed as "Critically Endangered" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Som Sitha, WCS technical advisor for the Sre Ambel Conservation Project, said once existed throughout Southeast Asia, today Siamese crocodiles are restricted to mainly Cambodia with perhaps 5,000 individuals remaining here.

"Remnant populations also occur in Laos and Indonesia, and it almost goes extinct in Thailand and Vietnam," he told Xinhua.

He said Siamese crocodiles face many threats including habitat loss and illegal hunting of adult crocodiles, and collecting of hatchlings and eggs to supply the crocodile farms in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Sitha said the WCS employs a multi-pronged approach to save Siamese crocodiles from extinction and that crocodile nests are protected by former hunters hired to search for and safeguard them.

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