A clutch of rare crocodile eggs belonging to one of the most endangered crocs in the world have been discovered by researchers in Cambodia. The discovery has raised hopes of its continuing survival in the wild.
On Wednesday, the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement that its researchers along with Fisheries Administration employees and local residents spotted six eggs of the Siamese Crocodile in Sre Ambel District in the southern province of Koh Kong.
They came across the rare crocodile eggs while exploring for tracks, signs and dung of the reptile, the statement said. It was the first Siamese Crocodile nest found in six years of research and protection in the Sre Ambel area.
The Wildlife Conservation Society said that the crocodile has an estimated population of around 410 and is found only in Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, with the greatest number in Cambodia.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed this species of crocodile as critically endangered as its numbers are shrinking rapidly.
"To avoid any threats, we moved the eggs to a safe place to hatch and track their progress," the statement quoted In Hul, a staff member of the Fisheries Administration, as saying.
Such threats, said the statement, "include illegal hunting of adults and hatchlings and collecting of eggs to supply crocodile farms in Cambodia and Thailand, especially during the last two decades."
Other threats include the "degradation of habitats, decrease of natural food, low chance of breeding in the wild due to low number of individuals in the wild and weak law enforcement such as regulations on crocodile farming and trading."