Seventeen critically endangered juvenile Siamese crocodiles were just released into an area of protected wetland in Lao PDR by the Wildlife Conservation Society, according to recent reports.
The relatively small (20-39 inches) 1-2 year old crocs were raised in protected facilities managed by local communities working with the WCS. The aim of the project being to help in the protection of the endangered reptiles and their living environment.
The wetlands that the crocs were released into (in case you want to poach one, or more) is the Xe Champhone wetland, near Than Soum village, Savannakhet Province.
The press release provides more:
Following the completion of the release ceremony, the crocodiles were transported by boat into the heart of the wetland complex that is managed by local communities to provide habitat and protect the species. It is estimated that there may be fewer than 1000 Siamese crocodiles remaining in the wild, with a significant proportion of this population located in Lao PDR.
The release of these crocodiles is the culmination of several years of conservation action implemented by WCS, local communities, and the Government of Lao PDR, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Forest Resources and Environment.
Alex McWilliam of the WCS’s Lao PDR Program stated: “We are extremely pleased with the success of this collaborative program and believe it is an important step in contributing to the conservation of the species by involving local communities in long term wetland and species management.”
For a bit of background on the croc species — it grows to be over 10 feet in length, possesses a rather distinctive patterning on its body, and has been exterminated from much of its former range throughout Southeast Asia and parts of Indonesia. Habitat loss and over hunting being the primary drivers.