Are there alligators in Thailand

Endangered Siamese crocodile sighted in Thailand

Kaeng Krachan - As cold-blooded animals, crocodiles depend on extensive sunbathing in order to really get going. This is exactly what our picture shows - the reptile is basking in the sun on an embankment and, when it has enough warmth, will probably rise again into the water. What is spectacular about the photo from the Thai Kaeng Krachan National Park is something else, namely a Siamese crocodile can be seen on it: The animals are extremely rare to see and are threatened with extinction.

Habitat loss and trophy hunting

The national park authorities have now published the photos - they were taken in December last year when a specimen of the three-meter reptile patted in the sights of an automatic camera. It was only the second time in ten years that a Siamese crocodile had been seen in Kaeng Krachan. The lizards belong to the real crocodiles and live exclusively in fresh water. With an area of ​​2915 square kilometers, the national park is the largest nature reserve in Thailand and lies on the border with Myanmar.

The Siamese crocodiles were once widespread in Southeast Asia. They are now on the red list, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the species as critically endangered. The management of the Kaeng Krachan National Park assumes that there are only 20 specimens of Crocodylus siamensis gives. Slightly more optimistic estimates assume that the reptile, which is found in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Laos, has a total population of less than 1,000 adults.

Trade in hides, meat, blood and bile

Anyway, the inventory numbers have been declining for a long time. In the past, this was mainly due to the trade in crocodile skins. Today several factors come together here, in particular the species is threatened by human-related loss of habitat, but also by illegal egg collection and (trophy) hunting. The stocks in Cambodia, for example, are also endangered by the construction of hydropower plants, because they are planned in most rivers with Siamese crocodile deposits.

Hybridization with the crocodiles that have escaped from crocodile farms harbors another danger - the animals can easily escape from the mostly poorly secured facilities in the event of flooding. The hybrids of Siamese and Estuarine crocodiles seem to make more money in the crocodile skin trade and are preferred in breeding. In addition, the meat of animals as well as blood and bile are traded; the fluids are said to have healing properties.