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Nine eggs of an endangered crocodile species were found in the wild in June. They have been taken to a conservation center in southern Cambodia and have hatched. Conservationists made this announcement Tuesday.
The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and Cambodia's Fisheries Administration said the eggs of nine Siamese crocodiles have hatched at the Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center. This came after the eggs had been retrieved from the wild to protect them from poachers and predators.
The WCS says the crocodile has an estimated global population of around 410. It is found only in Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The greatest number are in Cambodia. The species is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because its numbers are rapidly shrinking.
The discovery was made in June. It was the first Siamese crocodile nest recorded in six years of research and protection in Koh Kong's Sre Ambel area.
The conservation center was established by the two organizations. They safeguard endangered reptiles such as Siamese crocodiles and Royal turtles.
"We will take care of these hatchlings until they are able to survive in nature on their own," the groups' joint announcement quoted Som Sitha, as saying. "We will then release some to the wild, and others will be kept for breeding." He is WCS's technical adviser for the Sre Ambel Conservation Project.
His colleague Tun Sarorn, caretaker of Royal turtles and Siamese crocodiles at the center, expressed her excitement over the hatchlings.
"I am so excited to see these hatchlings. It is the first time I have taken care of them since arriving at the center," she was quoted as saying. "Before seeing them, I was surprised to hear their voices from inside the eggs. It was amazing, and I felt so happy because I realized they are coming out. I will feed them all in the next few days with small fish and frogs."
A different conservation group, WWF-Cambodia, separately announced encouraging news about another endangered species, the Irrawaddy, or Mekong dolphin, which has a worldwide population of about 7,000. Ninety percent are in Bangladesh. In Cambodia, and Laos, there are an estimated 80 adults in the Mekong River. WWF-Cambodia announced Tuesday that from January through this week, they recorded two dolphin deaths and eight births, an improvement over the same period last year when there were four deaths and four births.
"More than ever, there is hope to believe it is possible to reverse the trend of the Mekong Dolphin decline," the group said in a statement.