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Reptile World Serpentarium in St Cloud, Florida, recently hosted an event to raise funds for the Siamese crocodile, with the majority of funds raised directed toward Fauna & Flora International’s Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Program.
The Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Program (CCCP) was co-founded by Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the Royal Government of Cambodia and local communities to save the Critically Endangered Siamese crocodile and its globally important wetlands. The total amount raised was $9,000, a record for the four-year-old grassroots fundraiser, through a Summer BBQ for Crocodilian Conservation.
Over 120 attendees endured extreme heat and humidity following torrential rains in central Florida to attend the event. It was hosted by George Van Horn and organized by Flavio Morrissiey, Bruce Shwedick, Shawn Heflick, Curt Harbsmeier and Colette Adams. Lonnie McCaskill of Disney’s Animal Kingdom was a special guest sponsor. He has worked with the CCCP team at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center in Cambodia to reintroduce Siamese Crocodiles into the wild (find out more on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) website).
Lonnie explained, “The Crocodile Conservation Project was chosen for this event because of the full circle approach to their conservation. By including NGOs, community, government, protected areas and a captive component it was felt by the organizers this would be the ideal project to make the biggest bang for the buck.”
Katie Frohardt, Executive Director of FFI in the United States, was grateful for the endorsement. “Thank you for shining such a bright light on Siamese crocodile conservation. Events like this expand the US constituency for this beautiful, yet critically endangered reptile. We’re making excellent progress in conserving – and now breeding – the Siamese crocodile in Cambodia, and this donation will help us in our fight to save the species from extinction.”
Attendees were able to view all of the Serpentarium’s exhibits and a venom extraction demonstration and were able to interact with juvenile Siamese crocodiles, courtesy of Gator Adventure Productions and Dragonwood Conservancy.
CCCP’s innovative in-situ program addresses both the immediate and underlying threats to Siamese crocodiles, using a combination of education, capacity building, applied research, captive breeding, and sustainable livelihood development.
Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has supported the project for over a decade and selected CCCP team member Sam Han as a 2009 Conservation Hero for his outstanding commitment to conservation.