Captive breeding offers hope for Siamese crocodiles

FFI is excited to announce that 35 of the 69 rescued crocodiles at Cambodia’s Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center are purebred Siamese crocodiles, according to new DNA results. This has huge implications for the species which is critically endangered and was “effectively extinct in the wild” until 2000.

FFI was part of a team of experts who took the DNA samples last February. Analysis of the samples revealed that six of the purebred Siamese adults could be compatible breeding pairs and 29 young/hatchlings may be suitable for release.

Phnom Tamao will now be able to begin developing a conservation breeding programme with technical support from FFI, the Cambodian Forestry Administration and Wildlife Alliance.

It is hoped that a captive breeding programme will begin in early 2010. Guidance from the IUCN Re-Introduction Specialist Group will help to plan the release of offspring in suitable natural habitats in southwest Cambodia.

FFI and the Cambodian Forestry Administration launched the Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Programme in 2000 when Siamese crocodiles were rediscovered during a joint expedition in Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains.

Find out more about what we’re doing on the ground to save this threatened species.

Read the BBC’s coverage on the story their news website.