New crocodile welcomed at Crocworld
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DURBAN - A WEST African critically endangered crocodile has been unveiled as the latest wildlife addition at the Crocworld Conservation Centre in Scottburgh, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.
Crocworld said the female West-African slender snouted crocodile (mecistops cataphractus), was on loan from another facility and it was hoped that she would join the existing male of the same species to form a potential breeding pair.
James Wittstock, the acting centre manager, said: “This particular species of crocodile, which can be found from Angola to Senegal, is critically endangered, with only 500 to 1 000 left in the wild. They’re hunted for bushmeat and traditional medicine which has resulted in their dwindling numbers.”
With rehabilitation and conservation at the heart of what Crocworld does, Wittstock said he hoped that their new addition would allow the centre to introduce a breeding programme for the species.
Unlike the local crocodile species that can be found at the centre, the West-African slender snout crocodile is small-to-medium in size, are primarily fish-eating; and prefer vegetated water bodies to live in.
Wittstock said the crocodile, named Aamari, is a typical West African slender snout and shy by nature so initially she would submerge herself at the first sight of a human, but has since settled in.
“She can now be seen on most mornings and afternoons soaking up the sun on the banks of her enclosure which is adjacent to that of the resident male, Congo,” said Wittstock.
The crocodiles will be introduced to each other later this year.