Ten eggs of the critically endangered Siamese crocodile have successfully hatched at the Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Centre after a nest of 19 eggs was found last month near the Sre Ambel river.
The Wildlife Conservation Society said yesterday the eggs hatched after they were moved to the centre and have been protected for six weeks.
WCS and Environment Ministry officials, along with villagers, had found the nest by following tracks and the droppings of wild crocodiles. The eggs were then collected for protection.
Tun Sarorn, caretaker at the centre, said this was her first time caring for Siamese crocodiles. She had been told to feed the hatchlings small fish and frogs.
“I am so excited to see these hatchlings,” she said.
“Before seeing them, I was surprised to hear their voices from inside the eggs. It was amazing, and I felt so happy because I realised they were going to come out soon.”
In Hul, an official with the Fisheries Administration, said only 10 of the 19 eggs have hatched thus far because some of the others may have died or be unable to break through the shell.
“This Thursday we will open the unhatched eggs in order to see how they are,” Mr Hul said.
The hatchlings will be reared for a few years until they can be released back into the wild, Mr Hul said.
Som Sitha, WCS technical adviser for the Sre Ambel Conservation Centre, said the healthy baby crocs were good news for conservation because wild Siamese numbers were declining.
“We will release some into the wild and others will be kept for breeding.”
The species is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. They are found in Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The global population numbers only 410 adults, including 100 to 300 in Cambodia.