Little Ray's Nature Centre is launching a new campaign to help critically endangered species through their Boots-On-The-Ground conservation program.
The Siamese Crocodile, Crocodylus siamensis, once occurred throughout Southeast Asia and Borneo but populations have declined during the past 50 years. With <1,000 individuals remaining in the wild, the species is ranked as Critically Endangered by IUCN. Remnant populations still occur in Laos and wild population recovery is prioritized by the IUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist Group.
Historically, this species was broadly distributed in freshwater habitats of Southeast Asia, from Thailand, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Cambodia to Indonesia, but at present only very small, highly fragmented populations survive. In Lao PDR, the species has been documented in recent years from four southern provinces. The largest relicts occur in Savannakhet and Attapeu Provinces and rival those in Cambodia as the largest in the species’ severely depleted historical range.
The majority of Lao PDR’s crocodiles thrive in the Xe Champhone Wetlands, which is one of two Ramsar sites in the country. Wetland conservation for crocodiles protects many other species of fauna and flora and serves as an important natural sink of carbon (in the wetland and peatland). Protection of this carbon sink contributes to mitigation of global climate change, by preventing the emission of greenhouse gases.
Habitat at most crocodile sites is seriously threatened by:
- seasonal pumping of water for rice irrigation,
- removal of aquatic vegetation, and
- isolation caused by intensive agriculture in peripheral wetlands.
The fragmented distribution of crocodile habitat presents a formidable barrier to crocodile movement and interaction. Infertile nests and apparent lack of juveniles at some sites suggest that reproductive problems also impede population viability.
Little Ray's is looking to raise $16,000 to help with the expansion of the rearing ponds and ability to incubate more young crocodilians to expand the population of Siamese Crocodiles.
100% of funds raised will go towards the Siamese Crocodile Project