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Siamese crocodile

Latin name: Crocodylus siamensis

IUCN Red List conservation status

About: Siamese crocodile

Over the past one hundred years, habitat destruction and hunting have eradicated the Siamese crocodile from 99 per cent of its historical range throughout South East Asia.

Only around 250 adult Siamese crocodiles remain in the wild, chiefly in the remotest highlands of Cambodia, particularly in the south-western Cardamom Mountains.

Siamese crocodile facts:

  • Wild Siamese crocodiles in Cambodia feed mostly on fish and snakes, but also crabs, insects, birds and small mammals
  • There are no known records of Siamese crocodiles ever intentionally attacking a human being
  • Threats – previously the greatest threat was hunting Siamese crocodiles for their skins; now large scale hydro-power dam developments  and habitat loss threaten remaining key breeding populations
  • There is a rich cultural heritage of crocodiles in Cambodia; stone carvings of Siamese crocodiles can be found on the walls of ancient Angkorian Temples

The award-winning Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Programme (CCCP) was established by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia and local communities to save these Critically Endangered crocodiles and their globally important wetlands, using scientific research and activities that achieve measurable outputs.

The CCCP has begun an ex situ breeding programme and is initiating mitigation planning which may involve translocating crocodiles to safe sites.

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Did you know?

FFI’s CCCP is working hard towards protecting and saving Siamese Crocodiles from vanishing forever. Since 2000, the CCCP has been surveying crocodile populations throughout Cambodia. During these surveys, it has been able to identify three critically important breeding populations in the Cardamom Mountains of south-western Cambodia which represent a significant percentage of the global population of wild Siamese crocodiles (possibly up to 60%).

Hydro-electric Dam Development

Currently, the greatest threat to Siamese crocodiles in Cambodia is hydro-electricity development. Since 2003, 14 large-scale hydro-power dams have been proposed, including five within the Cardamom Mountains, of which two directly threaten the O’Som and Areng Siamese crocodile breeding populations. Construction of the first dam began in 2008 while the Areng remains in limbo as the Royal Government of Cambodia is negotiating with private investors. The Areng will be particularly seriously affected as the dam reservoir has been estimated to be up to 10,000 hectares in size and will inundate all existing crocodile habitat.

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