Conservation Out of a Shell
September 1, 2011
A well-laid conservation plan has hatched in Lao PDR
. To protect the wetlands of
Savannakhet Province, conservationists begin with eggs, very rare reptilian
with overhunting and habitat destruction, the critically endangered Siamese
crocodile does not have many places to go. But the eggs of this species are
finding themselves at the Laos Zoo. It was here where WCS recently helped 20
hatchlings emerge from their rubbery shells. The young crocs will not stay at
the zoo long. In about two years, they will move on to new watery digs in the
thrilled at the prospect of augmenting the wild population of Siamese
crocodiles with a new batch of healthy juveniles,” said Project Coordinator
Chris Hallam, the Conservation Planning Advisor for WCS’s Lao PDR program.
“It’s a small but important step in helping to conserve a valuable part of the
natural heritage of Lao PDR for the benefit of future generations.”
2008, the Crocodile Resource Management Plan has used crocodile conservation as
a means of protecting the larger landscape where the species occurs. This will
be good for the crocs as well as Savannakhet’s people, whose livelihoods often
rely on a healthy wetland ecosystem. "This integrated project promotes the
conservation of an entire landscape by highlighting the critical connections
between an endangered species and local livelihoods,” said Joe Walston,
Director of WCS’s Asia program.
project’s team members first conducted surveys of the reptiles and their
wetland habitats, all the while encouraging local communities to participate in
the effort. In the province’s river and swamps, they saw a small number of
crocs and importantly for the endangered species, croc nests. The
conservationists brought the eggs carrying our recent batch of hatchlings from
the wild in order to ensure more of them would survive.
baby reptiles will return to the wetlands once they are big and strong. By
adulthood, they may grow up to 10 feet in length.
more information, see the press release.