Fifteen Siamese crocodile hatchlings were spotted by a team from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the local community while they were patrolling a natural lake in Koh Kong province’s Sre Ambel district. Experts said the specie is the most critically endangered crocodile in the world.

Som Sitha, the project manager of the Koh Kong and Mekong Conservation Project at WCS, said the working team collaborated with local authorities to increase the conservation protection of these Siamese crocodiles by monitoring them regularly to ensure their safety.

Siamese crocodiles are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, making them a high priority for protection.

According to previous studies, there are about 5,000 species of crocodiles in Cambodia, which is more than any other country in the world.

Sitha said: “The Siamese crocodiles are currently facing several threats such as habitat loss, illegal hunting through the use of electric devices and the collection of young and eggs for sale to farms raising crocodiles in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.”

Yuk Thai, a community fisherman in Koh Kong province’s Sre Ambel district, said on Tuesday that he and many other fishermen regularly participate in patrol operations with WCS’s staff in protected areas.

Thai said he was happy to join the WCS in finding the Siamese crocodile hatchlings.

“I always participate in patrols which usually take two or three days. During our patrols, we board four or five boats and arrive on the mainland, and then we walk. I am happy to have been a part of a small force helping to protect wildlife in our country,” Thai said.

According to a WCS press release, the crocodile hatchlings are around 30cm long and were found swimming in a natural lake. The team noted that due to low rainfall this year, the wetlands are unseasonably shallow and provide less shelter than in previous years.