Bardiness

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The Philippines Crocodile

PhilCroc032102_45 The most endangered crocodile in the world is in the Philippines. Indeed, it’s so rare that most people don’t even know that it exists at all.

It’s the largest endemic predator in the archipelago and very little is known about it. It’s estimated that only 200 exist in the wild.

It’s the usual story, habitat destruction caused by agricultural expansion and expanding human population, together with that most ruinous practice of dynamite fishing.

There’s a drive to conserve the species with selective breeding programmes but overall attitudes to protecting it tends to be negative. Its current distribution is unclear and it has become extinct in arears where it used to thrive. Officially known as Crocodylus mindorensis it is a freshwater vertabrate which can grow to about 10 feet and lives in marshes, small lakes and river tributaries.

(This article should not to be confused with it’s saltwater Indo-Pacific cousin Crocodylus Porosus which is more familiar with Crocodile Dundee fans and incidentally is farmed in the Philippines for meat and skin – but that’s another matter which I look forward to getting my teeth into!)

As far as crocs go, our humble, rather charming native croc has some endearing tendencies. For example, the mothers exhibit strong maternal instincts, taking great care to make a nest in which she can lay up to 20 eggs, which after incubation she cracks open in her mouth and carries the young sprogs to water. (You may need to turn the volume up for this vid.)

The Australians are taking a lead on this, and Zoos Victoria together with its Filipino partner the Mabuwaya Foundation have created a breeding programme in north-east Luzon in the Philippines close to the Sierra Madre National Park, and it’s very presence is acting as a buffer against illegal logging and promoting freshwater wetland conservation across the region.

Many of the worlds most endangered species are in the Philippines and the vicious circle of corruption, complacency and ignorance has systematically eroded the nation’s most valuable heritage.

The new Philippines Government has started well with it’s vigour to protect the unique flora and fauna of the islands, and they should be encouraged. Two steps forward and one step back may be slow progress – but it’s progress nonetheless.

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July 28, 2011 - Posted by | Conservation, Culture, Education, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Yes, yes, I agree with you although I’m not a big crocodile fan. I’m scared of them and think they are dangerous. Had friends who did crocodile farming who told me they were huge cowards when well fed but otherwise dangerous. Now the Ostrich, there is something to be scared of?

    Like

    Comment by Spook | July 28, 2011 | Reply


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