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Siamese crocodile breeding programme

One of the rarest reptiles in the world

The critically endangered Siamese crocodile was once widespread throughout much of mainland Southeast Asia. It is now absent from 99% of its former range and the total number of mature Siamese crocodiles is thought to have declined to an estimated 250 in the wild.

The species was so rare, it was only a chance ‘rediscovery’ of some individuals in Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains that there’s any conservation programme today at all. That work continues in the same mountain range, where some 400,000 hectares have been protected to save the crocodiles.

It remains one of the world’s rarest reptiles; reduced to small populations due to habitat loss from the expansion of rice farming, continued poaching, accidental entanglement in fishing gear and the construction of hydroelectric dams.

Siamese crocodile by  pDang86 shutterstock
Photo credit pDang86, Shutterstock

Restoring the population

In a new project that began in 2023, PTES partner Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is continuing to breed crocodiles in captivity with a view to releasing them into the wild. A total of 25 were released in 2022, and FFI hopes to increase the wild population by 150 over the next two years.

As well as carrying out crocodile releases and then monitoring how those animals are faring using radio telemetry and satellite tags, FFI also plans to train more community wardens to patrol sanctuaries looking for evidence of poaching and illegal fishing nets. It will also aim to raise conservation awareness among local people.

Collaborating with the Forestry Administration and Ministry of Environment ‘will ensure the work’s long-term sustainability’.

FFI can point to some notable successes in the two-decade-long project. For example, a female crocodile returned to the wild in 2018 was found to have nested, evidence that released individuals are breeding. Though these eggs were later found to be infertile – a sign of the low numbers of wild individuals – 10 baby crocs were spotted later that year.

FFI’s ultimate goal is to establish a population of 10,000 Siamese crocodiles across multiple sanctuaries in the Cardamom Mountains and other reserves across Cambodia.

Donate today

£10 will help buy rope and mosquito nets for the team when they’re out on the river

£25 will help fund community outreach, supporting locals to live in harmony with crocodiles

£50 will help pay for genetic testing of a crocodile, to ensure we’re only breeding pure crocodiles

£100 will help buy monitoring equipment so the team can track tagged crocodiles

£200 helps feed and care for a juvenile crocodile in the breeding centre

£300 will help the wardens patrol the river and breeding sites, protecting crocodiles from poachers

Let's keep in touch...

We'd love to tell you about our conservation work through our regular newsletter Wildlife World, and also how you can save endangered species through volunteering, taking action or donating. You must be 18 or over. The information that you provide will be held by People’s Trust for Endangered Species. For information on how PTES processes personal data, please see our privacy policy.

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