Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cambodian Crocs

When I first arrived in Phnom Penh and was looking for a "different" day out I went to Phnom Tamao wildlife sanctuary. You can read about the original trip here: I thought the place was well run given its limited funds.

That zoo made the news this week as DNA tests done by conservationists have discovered that one of the world's most endangered crocodile species, the Siamese crocodile lives in the moats at Phnom Tamao! The Siamese crocodile is pretty much extinct (and in fact was declared extinct in 1992). It is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are only about 250 left in the wild and most of those are in Cambodia in the Cardamom Mountains.

The crocs in zoo are now going to be bred to increase the population to 450. Once there are 500 they will be moved off the critically endangered list. It won't be easy for any released crocs as although poaching is now rare planned hydroelectric dams could interfere with the crocodiles' habitat.

Crocs - cambo
... Given that even the experts needed a DNA test to tell unsurprisingly I'm not sure if this photo I took is of the Siamese crocodile

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