Cambodia has the world’s largest population of Siamese crocodiles, accounting for about 400 out of a total estimated 1,000 in the world, said a senior official at the Ministry of Environment.
Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said that the species used to be present in many places in Southeast Asia, but from the beginning of the 1990s their numbers have dramatically declined in their habitats.
“In Cambodia, Siamese Crocodiles have been found in the Cardamom Mountains. Recently, eight baby Siamese Crocodiles were found in Sre Pok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri provice. From this finding, it can be concluded that there is at least a couple of adult Siamese crocodiles in that area,” Pheaktra said.
He said in the early 1990s there was a concern that the rare species would go extinct due to poaching and it remains one of the most endangered in the world.
He said the presence of this endangered wildlife is due to the progress of Cambodia’s effort to protect wetland areas.
“Nevertheless, threats still exist for them, such as poaching and use of illegal fishing tools. These are the reasons that the government and Fauna and Flora International continue to update the public on the number of this species in an effort to make their numbers increase for a sustainable future,” he said.
In July, 25 Siamese crocodiles were released into the Areng natural habitat, making a total of 136 crocodiles released into the Cardamom Mountains since 2012.
There are 179 crocodiles currently in captivity at Phnom Tamao Zoological Park.
According to Pheaktra, there is a project called the Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Programme (CCCP) which has been running for more than 15 years to protect Siamese crocodiles.