First Nest of Critically Endangered Siamese Crocodile Recorded in Sre Ambel River System

Conservationists from the Fisheries Administration (FiA), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and local communities found a nest with 19 eggs of the Critically Endangered Siamese Crocodile in Sre Ambel River System.

According to a press release of WCS, those eggs were found in Kean-to pond, near Preah Angkeo Village, Dongpheng commune, Sre Ambel district, Koh Kong province, while searching for tracks, signs, and dung of wild crocodiles in the area.

This is the first Siamese Crocodile nest recorded in six years of research and protection in the Sre Ambel River System, it added.

Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) is listed on IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, because its global population is declining at alarming rate. This species lives only in Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Its global population is around 410 adult Siamese Crocodiles, while 100-300 wild adult Siamese Crocodiles live in Cambodia, making it the most important country for the species.

Siamese Crocodile faces many threats to their survival. In Cambodia, threats include illegal hunting of adults and hatchlings and collecting of eggs to supply crocodile farms in Cambodia and Thailand, especially during the last two decades. Other threats are degradation of habitats, decrease of natural food, low chance of breeding in the wild due to low number of individuals in the wild and weak law enforcement such as regulations on crocodile farming and trading.

I am delighted to see this Siamese Crocodile nest because previously we found only its tracks and dung. This is the first nest of Siamese Crocodile found on the Sre Ambel in six years, said Mr. In Hul, FiA counterpart staff of WCS.

To avoid any threats, we moved the eggs to a safe place to hatch and track their progress, he added.

The Sre Ambel River is famous because it is the only place where the Royal Turtle can be found. The Royal Turtle was believed extinct in Cambodia until 2000 when a small population was re-discovered by FiA and WCS in the Sre Ambel River System. Earlier this year, the conservation group also found a nest of globally Endangered Asian Giant Softshell Turtle in this river system.

This finding shows the global importance of the Sre Ambel River system for reptile conservation, as it is home to the Critically Endangered Siamese Crocodile and Royal turtle, the national reptile of Cambodia, as well as globally Endangered Asian Giant Softshell Turtle, said Mr. Som Sitha, WCS's Technical Advisor for the Sre Ambel Conservation Project.

Protecting the Sre Ambel River system is needed to ensure the survival of these important reptile species, he added.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press