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Mountain croc making comeback in the Cardamoms, group reports

Mountain croc making comeback in the Cardamoms, group reports

091008_06
A rare mountain crocodile – and a clutch of eggs – caught on camera in Cambodia. Photo supplied.

NGO says Siamese crocodiles are multiplying by up to 20pc each year

A rare crocodile once feared extinct may be slowly replenishing its numbers in Cambodia, conservationists said Wednesday.

Evidence suggests the Kingdom’s population of mountain crocodiles, also known as Siamese crocodiles, could be increasing at a rate of between 10 and 20 percent each year, according to the NGO Fauna and Flora International (FFI).

“Last year, we found crocodile eggs in two places in the Cardamom Mountains,” said Sam Han, national field coordinator for FFI. “Those eggs should hatch about 34 crocodiles.” If the eggs hatch successfully, they will swell Cambodia’s existing population of roughly 200 mountain crocodiles throughout the country.

Conservationists consider the mountain crocodile one of the world’s most endangered species.

Although the species was once found throughout the waterways of Southeast Asia, FFI says, hunting and habitat encroachment has shrunk the population to just 1 percent of its former size. Hunters are being urged to stop targeting the creatures.

“We want people to understand and take care of this reptile, which is already extinct in other countries,” Sam Han said.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which monitors species at high risk of global extinction, lists the mountain crocodile as “critically endangered”, just two steps away from extinction.

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