Jan 28

Nineteen Critically Endangered Philippine crocodiles have been released into the wild as wildlife officials endeavour to save the species from extinction. 

Philippine crocodile

Philippine crocodile

Conservationists of the Mabuwaya Foundation raised the rare reptiles for 18 months at a breeding centre in the Philippines, before setting them free in a national park in the remote north of the country – one of just two remaining natural habitats for this species.

Verge of extinction 

The Philippine crocodile has plunged to the verge of extinction due to habitat destruction, dynamite fishing and persecution by humans who consider it dangerous. But conservationists are confident that the young crocodiles, which are only 35 to 50 centimetres long, will be safe. 

“The Philippine crocodile is the world’s most severely threatened crocodile species with less than 100 adults remaining in the wild. It could go extinct in 10 years if nothing is done,” said Marites Balbas, spokeswoman for the Mabuwaya Foundation. 

“There is enough food and people are educated on how to protect them. We actually have groups in the local community who guard the sanctuary. They are aware that killing crocodiles is prohibited.” 

Population increases by a fifth 

This release continues a programme that began in 2005, in which dozens of captive-raised Philippine crocodiles have been released back into the wild in the Sierra Madre Natural Park in the northern province of Isabela. 

If they survive, the number of known Philippine crocodiles in the wild will increase by roughly a fifth. 

Find out more about the Philippine crocodile on ARKive

To read more on this story, see the Independent article.

 Alex Royan, ARKive Species Text Author