herald

Sunday 22 July 2018

Baby crocs snapping back from extinction

One of the world's rarest crocodiles has moved a little bit further from extinction with the hatching of 20 wild eggs.

Experts believe there could be as few as 300 Siamese crocodiles remaining in the world's swamps, forests and rivers.

So the discovery of the nest -- the first found in Laos since 2008 -- is a significant step in the rehabilitation of a species that was declared extinct in the wild in 1992. Since then, tiny populations have been discovered in remote corners of its range.

Still, the crocs remain critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List.

Under the soft red light of an incubator, the 20 baby crocodiles tapped and cracked their way into the world last week.

"The feeling was one of elation," said Chris Hallam, who coordinates the organisation's crocodile project in Laos .

The Siamese crocodile grows up to 10ft but is generally docile. Their passive nature made them all the easier to hunt. Thousands were captured and sold to crocodile farms that sprang up across Southeast Asia, feeding a vogue for its renowned soft skin.

hnews@herald.ie

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