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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Ocean Park looks into breeding rescued croc

Ocean Park looks into breeding rescued croc

Ocean Park is thinking about breeding with the 1.9-meter crocodile found at Pat Heung on Sunday, as long as the reptile adapts to the new environment and has education and conservation value, says the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation director, Howard Chuk Hau-chung.
The 35-kilogram female crocodile was transferred to the theme park on Sunday evening after it was caught by the police and staff from Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department at Lin Fa Tei, Pat Heung.

The four-year-old reptile is a Siamese crocodile, which is an endangered species originated from Southeast Asia. It is now at Ocean Park's quarantine facility for care by veterinary and animal teams.

The crocodile displayed active behavior and no injuries on its body have been found.

Chuk believed that the crocodile is performing continuous acts of exploration due to being seized, transported and exposed to new environments.

He said: "We are conducting body checkups for the crocodile and monitoring its behavior. Blood samples have been collected and will be sent overseas for further breed analysis."

He suspected the crocodile had been imported to the city via illegal channels and had been kept as a pet.

Siamese crocodiles are protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Wild Siamese crocodiles are rare and usually found in breeding environments. Hong Kong has never had any wild crocodiles.

They require amphibious environments and it would be best to have outdoor facilities such as hidden tree holes and bushes.

The park is developing appropriate care procedures for the fierce and aggressive species that easily feels threatened and is carnivorous.

"We believe we are able to provide suitable care to the Siamese crocodile," Chuk said, adding that the park has been breeding a similar-sized crocodile.

The park will have to first monitor whether the crocodile can adapt to the environment, investigate if the park is equipped with suitable facilities and possess a breeding license, before discussing with the AFCD further measures.

"We will consider keeping the crocodile if Siamese crocodiles become a part of education and conservation projects," Chuk added.

Ocean Park has been continuously cooperating with the AFCD and Customs and Excise Department to save wild animals, including sea turtles, crocodiles and red foxes.
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