Efforts to protect Thai crocodiles
The authorities have joined forces with the private sector to conserve Thai crocodiles (C.siamensis) whose population in the wild is now only 200.Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Conservation deputy chief Teerapat Prayunsit said yesterday that the crocodile conservation and release-to-nature project in a venture by his office, the Department of Fisheries, crocodile-breeding businesses and Mahidol University had improved the situation from near extinction since 2005. There were now 200 crocodiles in the wild. In the second phase, they would assess habitats, especially Kaeng Krajan National Park's Phetchaburi River, to release Thai crocodiles, which would also be tagged with radio devices to study behaviour and survival rate in the next eight months to one year, he added.
Fisheries Department chief Wimol Jantrarotai said the second phase comprised habitat study, genetic identification of the fresh-water crocodile, research on key infectious diseases in crocodiles, community participation promotion and releasing crocodiles into nature. He said this project would boost the confidence of customers of Thai crocodile products. It would also help lift trade blockage by the US against Thai crocodile products, which stipulates a condition that Thailand must conserve crocodiles in the wild.
Crocodile Cooperative of Thailand president Yossapong Temsiripong said the private sector saw the importance and supported wild-crocodile conservation.