13 Siamese Crocodiles Successfully Hatch in Cambodia!
I have some good news about a rather large reptile that we don’t report about too often. Recently, there was a successful hatching of 13 Siamese Crocodiles!
I never knew there was such a thing as a Siamese Crocodile, but apparently they are a critically endangered species that can dispersed throughout Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and possibly Thailand. Excessive hunting and habitat loss have been their main threats and it was only in 1992 that they were believed to be extinct in the wild; so, this hatching is an extra-joyous occasion.
It all started with the discovery of a nest with 22 eggs in the Areng Valley (of the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia). Volunteers of UK-based Fauna and Flora International took 15 of the eggs and incubated them in a compost heap similar to the original nest. The other 7 eggs were left behind because they did not appear to be fertilized, while the 15 incubated eggs were guarded around-the-clock.
All the rescuing, watching and waiting finally paid off: 10 baby crocodiles hatched from the incubation area and 3 from the original nest also emerged. The 3 were found when field coordinator, Sam Han, went to retrieve a camera-trap from the site, which contained 2 infrared shots of the mother returning to the nest.
Now, the crocs are being kept in a water-filled enclosure in a local village. Fortunately for the crocs, the natives of the area (Chouerng) hold crocodiles in high regard as forest spirits and believe its bad luck to harm them. Most likely, the crocodiles will be released to the wild at some point next year, but unfortunately their survival chances are slim.
A major hydropower project is expected to happen in that very valley and there is still the ongoing threat of poaching for their soft skin.
You can find out more about the crocodile hatching here.
By Heidi Marshall