In the five years that AAZK San Diego and the San Diego Zoo Reptile Department have been collaborating on CroctoberFest, we have raise more than $20,000 for crocodilian conservation! For our 6th annual CroctoberFest, our focus is on helping the Siamese crocodile.
Currently listed as critically endangered, the Siamese crocodile inhabits riverine areas of South East Asia and is one of the least known crocodilian species in the world. With the limited knowledge that is available, the wild populations are thought to be a mere 1000 individuals.
Reaching to a maximum length of 3.5m (11ft) the Siamese crocodile is considered medium sized, but due to habitat overlap with the Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), has the potential to reach much greater lengths as they hybridize naturally. Believed to primarily eat fish, the shape of their snout suggests they are generalist feeders and most likely also eat amphibians, small reptiles and mammals. Much like all crocodilian species, the Siamese crocodile is expected to live up to 80-100 years.
Significant threats have led to their population declining over the last century. Primarily the largest historical threat was harvesting for their skins/hides which are then used for leather, or collection for farming purposes. In recent years Siamese Crocodiles have been the victim of bycatch (nontarget species captured and killed in fishing nets), and habitat degradation caused by water extraction for irrigation purposes.
While wild populations continue to decline, those animals taken for farming have been thriving and readily bred in captivity. Meaning, there are potentially hundreds of thousands of individuals available for reintroduction programs in native home ranges. However, many farms house a combination of species in the same pens, leading to hybrid individuals.
The greatest aid we can provide is financial support to the incredible conservationists who are working on the ground to improve the plight of these wonderful creatures!
Specifically this year, your donations to CroctoberFest will be providing support towards in-situ breeding and re-introduction programs (captive breeding in home range countries), the continuation of field surveys to gain invaluable natural history knowledge and monitoring of previously reintroduced individuals. These surveys require equipment such as radio tracking devices and receivers for relocation, capture materials, transport to reach out of the way habitats and essentials for those in the field.
What you may not know is that a little help can go a long way, so every dollar counts! With the help of croc stars like you, we can get populations back to sustainable numbers and bring this critically endangered species back from the brink of extinction.
The Siamese crocodiles thank you!