Native to South Eastern Countries of Indonesia, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, etc The Siamese Crocodile is a freshwater crocodile is a critically endangered species that is now already extinct in many regions. According to IUCN, the Siamese Crocodile is in their Red List making this a nearly extinct species in wild and are currently bred in captivity.
The species are nearly extinct due to human disturbance to their natural habitat which has forced them to reach their end. Currently, 99% of these are extinct and a sizable population is surviving. The main reason is due to human activities such as the conversion of wetlands to agriculture lands, usage of pesticide, insecticide, etc and an increase in the population of cattle which has affected the habitat of Siamese Crocodile.
Other effects such as WWII, Vietnam War, etc might have contributed to the decline in population. Human activities such as dam construction for hydroelectric power, habitat degradation, etc are some other ways that humans have contributed towards the loss of these freshwater crocodiles.
Siamese Crocodile was also captured for its skin trade and the meat used for human consumption and also used in traditional Chinese medicine. This led to a steep decline in the population of wild Siamese crocodiles.
Taxonomy of Siamese Crocodile
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Crocodilia
- Family: Crocodylidae
- Genus: Crocodylus
- Species: C. Siamensis
- Binomial Name: Crocodylus siamensis
Characteristics of Siamese Crocodile
The Siamese crocodiles are freshwater crocodiles which a broad and smooth strout, they have an elevated crest behind each eye. They are mainly olive green in color but some had a variation of dark green. The maximum length of these crocodiles is around 3m and the females are shorter compared to males. The females weigh around 150KG max and the males around 350KG. They mostly live in slow-moving rivers, streams, lakes, marsh, and swamplands.
They are known to feed fish, snakes and small mammals. Their breeding period is during the wet season from April where a female crocodile can lay a maximum of 50 eggs. They are incubated by the female crocodile and once the young crocodile hatches, they are carried to the water by their mother.
The crocodiles as mentioned are under Red List under IUCN ratings are now a part of the conservation program. Many projects are running in Cambodia, where they are being conserved by The Ironwood Foundation and with the help of the Government of Cambodia, they are trying to grow the crocodiles in captive. Also, the government of Cambodia started the Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Programme for the protection and recovery of these crocodiles.
How many Siamese crocodiles are left in the world?
In the year 2009, the group collected DNA samples of around 70 crocodiles out of which 45 were found to be purebred, this was conserved and successfully released in wild far out of human reach.
Since then many SE countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Thailand have been working with these organizations to help in working on conservation and upbringing of purebred Siamese Crocodile and have now successfully released some purebred in remote regions of the respective country.