New program focuses on
saving Critically Endangered reptile and its wetland habitat
from eggs taken from the wild and incubated at the Laos Zoo, the baby
crocodiles represent a success for a new program that works to save the Siamese
crocodile and the wetlands and associated biodiversity of Laos’ Savannakhet
project is supported by the Savannakhet Province Agriculture and Forestry
Office and MMG LXML Sepon.
thrilled at the prospect of augmenting the wild population of Siamese
crocodiles with a new batch of healthy juveniles,” said Chris Hallam,
Conservation Planning Advisor for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Lao PDR
Program and the crocodile project coordinator. “It’s a small but important step
in helping to conserve a valuable part of the natural heritage of Lao PDR for
the benefit of future generations.”
in 2008 as the Crocodile Resource Management Plan, the project uses crocodile
conservation as a means of protecting the larger landscape. The first phase of
the project focused on surveys of crocodiles, the wetlands where they occur,
and the livelihoods of local communities in Savannakhet Province. Survey teams
located small numbers of crocodiles in several sites in the province’s river
systems and wetlands.
recently hatched eggs are part of the crocodile replenishment phase of the
project, where eggs from wild nests are transported to captive settings in
order to boost the survivorship of the clutches. The hatchlings will be
released as second-year juveniles, when the reptiles are large and robust
enough to avoid mortality in the wild.
plan, say organizers, also relies on input and involvement from local
communities, who will help promote the recovery of the Siamese crocodile and
the habitat on which many livelihoods rely.
integrated project promotes the conservation of an entire landscape by
highlighting the critical connections between an endangered species and local
livelihoods,” said Joe Walston, Director of WCS’s Asia Program.
as Critically Endangered by the International Union for 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.