The Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) is the most threatened species of crocodile on the planet. Only a small population survives in the foothills of the Northern Sierra Madre Mountains. The adult crocodiles face persecution from the human population if they come too close to the villages. Their nesting habitat is being destroyed and converted for agricultural purposes. All resulting in a very bleak future for the species.
Edge of Extinction
Crocodiles in general lay many eggs, of which only few will ever become adult crocodiles. However, in San Mariano, the survival rate of hatchlings is very low. The crocodiles prefer to nest near small lakes or marshes, unfortunately these areas are being converted into rice fields or for other agricultural purposes. This has resulted in the crocodiles having no other choice than to make their nests next to fast flowing rivers. This is not the safe and nurturing environment that a hatchling requires. Once they hatch, they are almost immediately washed down river and are never seen again. The ones that manage to survive still have predators to contend with; monitor lizards, pythons, rats and herons will all eat a small crocodile hatchling. A tough start in life made even tougher by us humans.
Why are Philippine Crocodiles important?
Philippine Crocodiles are an apex predator in their ecosystem, feeding predominantly on fish. Persecuting the crocodile will have negative effects on the local ecosystem, for other animal species and for humans. Removing the Philippine Crocodile, the food chain, will allow other animals species to flourish. This may sound like a positive outcome, but in fact this unbalance could eventually led to a complete collapse, resulting in poor biodiversity and loss of other species. For the human population living alongside the crocodiles it could mean a reduction in fish stocks that they rely on to feed their families. It could also mean increased vegetation in the river systems which would reduce the oxygen levels which would kill fish.
What’s the plan?
To help increase the chances of Philippine Crocodile survival in the wild, Wild Discovery has partnered with the Mabuwaya Foundation based out in Lurzon, Northern Philippines. The Mabuwaya Foundation are focused on working with the local communities to help them learn and live alongside this species. The foundation has also initiated a head-start program where hatchlings are collected from nests and kept in captivity until they are strong enough to survive the river currents and to evade predators. Giving the species a greater chance of survival in the wild. The Foundation also train locals to search and monitor nests rather than destroy them and are working to create suitable habitat in the wild. Since the Foundation started the Philippine crocodile population has been growing slowly, but there is still more work to be done for this species to have a clear and certain future.
Here at Wild Discovery we hold a breeding female called “Nawala”, she will help to boost numbers in the wild. “Nawala” is an ambassador for her species and helps us to educate our visitors on the threats that her species faces in the wild. Wild Discovery is supporting the Foundation to develop and create suitable wild habitat for crocodile releases.
How can you help?
Spread the word about this species and the extinction crisis that it is facing. More people that know the reasons why the species is facing extinction the more we can do to help save the species.
Buy one of our #wildconservation wristbands from the gift shop, 100% of the proceeds go directly to the conservation projects.
Or make a small donation you can pop some spare change in the conservation projects box situated in the Gift Shop. For larger donations please contact the Zoo Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mabuwaya Foundation http://www.mabuwaya.org/