Monday, July 2, 2012

Little fighters

A Siamese crocodile hatchling
Enjoyed an interesting conversation today about critically endangered Siamese crocodiles, which can be found in their highest numbers in Cambodia's Cardamom Mountains, though they used to exist throughout Southeast Asia. Efforts by Fauna & Flora International alongwith local communities in places like the Veal Veng marsh appear to be reaping rewards, with numbers on the increase and poaching all but eradicated. Still there are believed to be no more than 250 adults in the wild. Period. That is a dangerously low number, so breeding programs to increase numbers are an urgent necessity. One such program exists at Phnom Tamao Zoo, just outside of Phnom Penh. There are carvings of these crocodiles on the temple walls at Angkor and as such they have a spiritual connection to the indigenous population in the Cardamoms. The Veal Veng marshlands and surrounding areas represent a significant percentage of the global population of these creatures, possibly up to 60%, so the work of FFI and the community warden patrols are imperative if this species is to survive and flourish. More power to their elbow I say. If you need another nudge towards viewing these plucky little freshwater fighters more favourably; there are no known records of Siamese crocodiles ever intentionally attacking a human.

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