A wild Siamese crocodile nest has been found in Cardamom Mountain area by Fauna & Flora’s Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Program team, working in collaboration with the Koh Kong provincial Department of Environment, Forestry Administration (FA), and local community.

The crocodile habitat was discovered in the wetlands of Trapaing Peang in the Southern Cardamom Mountain National Park in Koh Kong province early this month, according to Fauna and Flora International’s social media post on June 12.

It said the habitat contained 21 eggs, with 17 of them being potentially fertilised. These eggs were carefully relocated to artificial nests to ensure their protection, while the remaining four unfertilised eggs were left in their original nest.

The conservation team is monitoring and guarding the artificial nest around the clock to safeguard the eggs from potential dangers. The eggs are expected to hatch in mid-August, and once the crocodiles emerge, they will be released back into the wild to maximise their chances of survival.

“Siamese crocodiles are among the most critically endangered species in the world,” it said.

Fauna and Flora International, in conjunction with the Cardamom Forest Administration, discovered Siamese crocodiles in Cambodia in 2000, establishing the country as a crucial habitat for these medium-sized freshwater reptiles native to Southeast Asia.

Currently, there are approximately 1,000 Siamese crocodiles worldwide, and nearly 400 of them can be found in Cambodia. Therefore, the identification of this natural nest is a momentous development.

Efforts to conserve the world’s rarest Siamese crocodiles have received praise from the Ministry of Environment.

Neth Pheaktra, the ministry’s spokesperson, highlighted the significance of Cambodia as a prominent habitat for this species.

The protection and nurturing of Siamese crocodile nests and locations are prioritised to ensure the species thrives in the country while promoting an increase in their population within the region and globally, he said.

For over two decades, the Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Project, facilitated by the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, and Fauna and Flora International, has been actively implemented in various crocodile sanctuaries across Cambodia.

Notably, five sites, including O’Som commune, Veal Veng district in Pursat province, and Areng, Chhay Reap, Stung Khiev, and the crocodile rehabilitation area in Ta Tay Leu commune in Koh Kong province, actively engage in conservation efforts. Additionally, the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre houses a re-introduction program.

The environment ministry stated that this model Siamese crocodile conservation project, which combines local community involvement, observation, patrol, and the latest conservation technology, is now being shared with the rest of the world.