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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 21.9 years (captivity)
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Biology

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Adults feed mainly on fish but may also eat amphibians, reptiles and small mammals (2). Very little else is known about the natural history of this species in the wild, but females do appear to build mound-nests constructed from scraped-up plant debris mixed with mud (3). In captivity, these crocodiles breed during the wet season (April to May), laying between 20 - 50 eggs which are then guarded until they hatch (4). After incubation, the female will assist her young as they break out of their eggs and then carry the hatchlings to the water in her jaws (5).
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Conservation

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Until recently, very little data existed on Siamese crocodile numbers and distribution, a factor which led to the species being reported as virtually extinct in the wild in 1992 (4). Since then a large amount of research has been conducted and this has shown a slightly more encouraging picture, although the status is still hard to judge. Siamese crocodiles appear to be mainly found in Cambodia where updated estimates suggest a population of no greater than 5000 individuals (2), though it may be considerably less (4). However, the species is extensively maintained and bred in captivity, in both Thailand and Cambodia, where it is farmed for the commercial value of its skins (2). The species is considered relatively inoffensive to humans, making restocking programmes a distinct possibility provided sufficient habitat is maintained and protected. Local people have been reported to protect crocodiles, which they view to be sacred (2). Programs are already underway in Thailand (2) and, although the future of the Siamese crocodile remains in the balance, there is more optimism than a decade ago.
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Description

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The Siamese crocodile is a small, freshwater crocodilian (a group that also includes alligators, caimans and the gharial), with a relatively broad, smooth snout and an elevated bony crest behind each eye (3). It is one of the most endangered crocodiles in the wild, although it is extensively bred in captivity (4).
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Habitat

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The Siamese crocodile occurs along rainforest rivers and in adjacent swamps or lagoons (3).
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Range

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Previously found throughout South East Asia but now extinct, or nearly extinct, from most countries except Cambodia (2).
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Status

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Classified as Critically Endangered (CR - A1ac) on the IUCN Red List 2002 (1), and listed on Appendix I of CITES (6).
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Threats

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Siamese crocodiles are under threat from human disturbance and habitat occupation, which is forcing remaining populations to the edges of their former range (4). The conversion of rainforest habitat to agricultural use along with aggressive hunting for crocodile skins, have contributed to the decline of this species of crocodile (4). In Cambodia, which is the species' last remaining stronghold, incursion into pristine habitat is now occurring through aid development programs, and the hunting of adult females for crocodile farm stock is reported to be widespread (2).
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Brief Summary

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The small, non-aggressive, freshwater Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) is among the most endangered of the 14 extant crocodile species, and one of the four crocodile species listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Historically native across almost all of Southeast Asia to as far south as Java, the Siamese crocodile is now thought to live functionally in the wild only in Cambodia.Cox, Frazier and Maturbongs (1993) indicate identification of the species existing in Indonesian Borneo, where it is known by the local name of black batas crocodile (buaya batas hitam) but the current status in Indonesia is unknown.A small population is known in Laos.Threats to the Siamese crocodile include long-standing habitat destruction (which started 100 years ago with development of wetland for rice paddies), overhunting, drowning in fishing nets, and collection for crocodile farms.These threats have contributed to highly fractionated, mostly nonbreeding wild populations.

Although the ecology and biology of this species is poorly studied, C. siamensis is known to live in swamps, lakes and other slow-moving freshwater bodies, perhaps also inhabiting brackish waters.In captivity, the species matures at 10 years of age.Adult males grow to 3 meters (10 feet) long.Females guard a nest containing about 20-50 eggs laid in the wet season (April-May) and may perhaps also care for the young after hatching, although this is unknown.Feeding habits in the wild are also not well known, but the broad shape of their snout suggests they are generalist carnivores with a diet rich in fish, as well as a range of other vertebrate families and invertebrates; analysis of dung samples supports this.

Little information exists to understand the biology or distribution of depleted species. Siamese crocodiles, however, are successfully bred in captivity.Farms in Thailand export Siamese alligator products and have released pure-bred individuals back to the wild.Other reintroductions have occured, for example in Laos in 2011 a nest of wild eggs was found and the eggs brought to the Laos zoo.In collaboration with theLao PDR government and World Conservation Society, nineteen individuals were raised and released back into a Laos wetland near the nest site in 2013 when they were 19 month old.Monitoring of these continues.

(Britton 2009; Cox, Frazier and Maturbongs 1993; WCS 2013; Thorbijarnarson, Photitay and Hedemark, 2004; Temsiripong, Ratanakorn and Kullavanijaya 2004; Simpson and Han 2004)

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Distribution

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Continent: Asia
Distribution: Cambodia, Indonesia (including Borneo and possibly Java), Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar (= Burma).
Type locality: "Siam" (=Thailand).
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Siamese crocodile

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The Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) is a medium-sized freshwater crocodile native to Indonesia (Borneo and possibly Java), Brunei, East Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The species is critically endangered and already extirpated from many regions. Its other common names include Siamese freshwater crocodile, Singapore small-grain, and soft-belly.[3]

Phylogeny

 src=
Fossils, formerly referred to as Crocodylus ossifragus

Below is a cladogram based on a 2018 tip dating study by Lee & Yates simultaneously using morphological, molecular (DNA sequencing), and stratigraphic (fossil age) data,[4] as revised by the 2021 Hekkala et al. paleogenomics study using DNA extracted from the extinct Voay.[5]

Crocodylinae

Voay

Crocodylus      

Crocodylus anthropophagus

   

Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni

       

Crocodylus palaeindicus

   

Crocodylus Tirari Desert

        Asia+Australia    

Crocodylus johnstoni Freshwater crocodile Freshwater crocodile white background.jpg

     

Crocodylus novaeguineae New Guinea crocodile

   

Crocodylus mindorensis Philippine crocodile

         

Crocodylus porosus Saltwater crocodile Crocodylus porosus white background.jpg

     

Crocodylus siamensis Siamese crocodile Siamese Crocodile white background.jpg

   

Crocodylus palustris Mugger crocodile Mugger crocodile white background.jpg

        Africa+New World    

Crocodylus checchiai

   

Crocodylus falconensis

       

Crocodylus suchus West African crocodile

     

Crocodylus niloticus Nile crocodile Nile crocodile white background.jpg

  New World    

Crocodylus moreletii Morelet's crocodile

   

Crocodylus rhombifer Cuban crocodile Cuban crocodile white background.jpg

       

Crocodylus intermedius Orinoco crocodile

   

Crocodylus acutus American crocodile American crocodile white background.jpg

                 

Characteristics

The Siamese crocodile is a medium-sized, freshwater crocodilian, with a relatively broad, smooth snout and an elevated, bony crest behind each eye. Overall, it is an olive-green colour, with some variation to dark-green.[6] Young specimens measure 1.2–1.5 m (3.9–4.9 ft) and weigh 6–12 kg (13–26 lb), growing up to 2.1 m (6.9 ft) and a weight of 40–70 kg (88–154 lb) as an adult.[7][8][9] The largest female specimens can measure 3.2 m (10 ft) and weight 150 kg (330 lb)[10] Large male specimens can reach 4 m (13 ft) and 350 kg (770 lb) in weight.[11] Most adults do not exceed 3 m (10 ft) in length.

 src=
Siamese Crocodile-Biblical Zoo

Distribution and habitat

Siamese crocodiles occur in a wide range of freshwater habitats, including slow-moving rivers and streams, lakes, seasonal oxbow lakes, marshes and swamplands.[12]

Behaviour and ecology

 src=
Siamese crocodile sleeping with its mouth open to release heat

Despite conservation concerns, many aspects of C. siamensis life history in the wild remain unknown, particularly regarding its reproductive biology.[12]

Adults feed mainly on fish and snakes, but also eat amphibians and small mammals.[3]

Very little is known about the natural history of this species in the wild, but females build mound-nests constructed from scraped-up plant debris mixed with mud.[6] In captivity, these crocodiles breed during the wet season (April to May), laying between 15 and 50 eggs, which are then guarded until they hatch.[13] After incubation, the female will assist her young as they break out of their eggs and then carry the hatchlings to the water in her jaws.[14]

Pure, unhybridised examples of this species are generally unaggressive towards humans,[15] and there are only four confirmed attacks, none of them fatal. One was defending its young,[16] another was probably defending itself,[17] one was provoked,[18] and the reason for the last is unclear.[19] A fifth attack in 1928 that was probably done by a Siamese crocodile was fatal, with the victim being a child.[20]

Threats

Siamese crocodiles are under threat from human disturbance and habitat occupation, which is forcing remaining populations to the edges of their former range.[13] Extinct from 99% of its original range, the Siamese crocodile is considered one of the least studied and most critically endangered crocodilians in the world.[12] Although few wild populations remain, more than 700,000 C. Siamese are held on commercial crocodile farms in Southeast Asia.[12]

In 1992, it was believed to be extremely close to or fully extinct in the wild until 2000 when scientists from Fauna and Flora International and the Government of Cambodia's Forestry Administration confirmed the presence of Siamese crocodiles in the Cardamom Mountains in Southwest Cambodia. Since then, surveys have identified around 30 sites in Cambodia that contain wild Siamese crocodiles (conservatively estimated to number between 200 and 400 individuals in total), a tiny population in Thailand (possibly as few as two individuals, discounting recent reintroductions), a small population in Vietnam (possibly fewer than 100 individuals), Cat Tien National Park has about 200, and a more sizeable population in Laos. In March 2005, conservationists found a nest containing juvenile Siamese crocodiles in the southern Lao province of Savannakhet. There are no recent records from Malaysia, Burma or Brunei. A small but important population of the crocodiles is also known to live in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Habitat degradation

Factors causing loss of habitat include: conversion of wetlands for agriculture, chemical fertilisers use, use of pesticides in rice production, and an increase in the population of cattle.[21] The effects of warfare stemming from the conflicts in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia during the Vietnam War (from land mines to aerial bombardment) have also been factored.

Many river systems, including those in protected areas, have hydroelectric power dams approved or proposed, which are likely to cause the loss of about half of the remaining breeding colonies within the next ten years.[12] One cause for habitat degradation via hydrological changes, for the Siamese crocodile, is the implementation of dams on the upper Mekong River and its major tributaries.[22] Potential impacts of dam construction include wetland loss and altered flooding cycle with a dry season flow 50% greater than under natural conditions.[23]

Exploitation and fragmentation

 src=
Siamese crocodile farm on Tonle Sap in Cambodia

Illegal capture of wild crocodiles for supply to farms is an ongoing threat, as well as incidental capture/drowning in fishing nets and traps.[12] The Siamese crocodile currently has extremely low and fragmented remaining populations with little proven reproduction in the wild.

Siamese crocodiles have historically been captured for skins and to stock commercial crocodile farms. In 1945, skin hunting for commercial farms was banned by the French colonial administration of Cambodia.[24] In the late 1940s, populations spurred the development of farms and harvesting wild crocodiles for stocking these farms.[25] Protection was abolished by the Khmer Rouge (1975–79) but later reinstated under Article 18 of the Fishery Law of 1987, which "forbids the catching, selling, and transportation of...[wild] crocodiles..."[24]

Crocodile farming now has a huge economic impact in the provinces surrounding Tonle Sap, where 396 farms held over 20,000 crocodiles in 1998.[24] Also, many crocodiles were exported from Cambodia since the mid-1980s to stock commercial farms in Thailand, Vietnam, and China.[26]

Despite legal protection, a profitable market exists for the capture and sale of crocodiles to farms since the early 1980s.[26] This chronic overharvesting has led to the decline of the wild Siamese crocodile.

Conservation

This crocodile is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, and is listed on Appendix I of CITES.[2]

It is one of the most endangered crocodiles in the wild, although it is extensively bred in captivity.[13]

The current situation of C. siamensis represents a significant improvement from the status reported in the 1992 Action Plan (effectively extinct in the wild), but poses major new challenges for quantitative survey and effective conservation action if the species is to survive. While the species remains critically endangered, there is a sufficient residual wild population, albeit severely fragmented across several areas and countries, to provide a basis for recovery.

The Siamese crocodile is relatively unthreatening to people (compared to C. porosus), and the possibility of people and crocodiles coexisting in natural settings seems possible. The powerful economic force of the commercial industry based on C. siamensis also needs to be mobilised and channelled for conservation advantage. Considerable effort and action is still required, but the species has a reasonable chance of survival if the necessary actions can be implemented.

Yayasan Ulin (The Ironwood Foundation) is running a small project to conserve an important wetland habitat in the area of East Kalimantan which is known to contain the crocodiles.[27] Most of them, though, live in Cambodia, where isolated, small groups are present in several remote areas of the Cardamom Mountains, in the southwest of the country, and also in the Virachey National Park, in the northeast of the country.

In Cambodia Fauna and Flora International and the Government of Cambodia's Forestry Administration have established the Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Programme for the protection and recovery of Siamese crocodiles. This programme works with a network of indigenous villages who are helping to protect key sites such as Veal Veng Marsh (Veal Veng District), the Tatai River (Thmar Bang District) and the Araeng River. The latter is considered to have the second largest population of Siamese crocodiles in the world, but is currently threatened by the proposed construction of a massive dam in the river. During the heavy monsoon period of June–November, Siamese crocodiles take advantage of the increase in water levels to move out of the river and onto large lakes and other local bodies of water, returning to their original habitat once water levels start receding back to their usual levels.

The Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Programme conducted DNA analysis of 69 crocodiles in Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Cambodia 2009, and found 35 of them were purebred C. siamensis. Conservationists from the Forestry Administration and Fauna and Flora International subsequently launched a conservation breeding program at the Centre. Since 2012, approximately 50 purebred Cambodian Siamese crocodiles have been released into community-protected areas to reinforce the depleted wild populations.

Poaching is a severe threat to this species, with the value of wild Siamese crocodiles reaching hundreds of dollars in the black market, where they are illegally taken into crocodile farms and hybridized with other, larger species.[28] The total wild population is unknown, since most groups are in isolated areas where access is extremely complicated. A number of captively held individuals are the result of hybridization with the saltwater crocodile, but several thousand "pure" individuals do exist in captivity, and are regularly bred at crocodile farms, especially in Thailand.

Pang Sida National Park in Thailand, near Cambodia, has a project to reintroduce Siamese crocodile into the wild. A number of young crocodiles have been released into a small and remote river in the park, not accessible to visitors.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is working with the government of Laos on a new programme to save this critically endangered crocodile and its wetland habitat. In August, 2011, a press release announced the successful hatching of a clutch of 20 Siamese crocodiles. These eggs were then incubated at the Laos Zoo. This project represents a new effort by WCS to conserve the biodiversity and habitat of Laos’ Savannakhet Province, promotes conservation of biodiversity for the whole landscape, and relies on community involvement from local residents.[29]

In September 2021, eight hatchlings were found in a wildlife sanctuary in eastern Cambodia.[30]

Priority projects

High priority projects include:[31]

  • Status surveys and development of crocodile management and conservation programmes in Cambodia and Laos: These two countries appear to be the remaining stronghold of the species. Identifying key areas and populations, and obtaining quantitative estimates of population size as a precursor to initiating conservation programs is needed.
  • Implementation of protection of habitat and restocking in Thailand: Thailand has the best-organized protected-areas system, the largest source of farm-raised crocodiles for restocking, and the most-developed crocodile management programme in the region. Although the species has virtually disappeared from the wild, re-establishment of viable populations in protected areas is feasible.
  • Protection of crocodile populations in Vietnam: a combination of habitat protection and captive breeding could prevent loss of the species in Vietnam. A breeding population has been successfully re-established in Cát Tiên National Park. Further surveys, identification of suitable localities and the implementation of a conservation programme coordinated with the captive breeding efforts of Vietnamese institutions is needed.
  • Investigation of the taxonomy of the freshwater crocodiles in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago: The relationships among the freshwater crocodiles in the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago are poorly understood. Clarification of these relationships is of scientific interest and has important implications for conservation.

Other projects include:

  • Coordination of captive breeding, trade and conservation in the South east Asian region: Several countries in the region are already deeply involved in captive breeding programs for commercial use. Integration of this activity with necessary conservation actions for the wild populations (including funding surveys and conservation) could be a powerful force for conservation. A long term aim could be the re-establishment of viable wild populations and their sustainable use by ranching.
  • Maintain a stock of pure C. siamensis in crocodile farms: The bulk of the captives worldwide are maintained in several farms in Thailand where extensive interbreeding with C. porosus has taken place. Hybrids are preferred for their superior commercial qualities, but the hybridisation threatens the genetic integrity of the most threatened species of crocodilians. Farms should be encouraged to segregate genetically pure Siamese crocodiles for conservation, in addition to the hybrids they are promoting for hide production.
  • Survey and protection of Siamese crocodiles in Indonesia: Verification of the presence of C. siamensis in Kalimantan and Java is a first step to developing protection for the species within the context of the developing crocodile management strategy in Indonesia.

Cultural references

A Malay folktale features a crocodile that is outwitted by a mouse-deer and buffaloes.[32] A Siamese crocodile has been cited in the Thai folklore of Central Thailand's Krai Thong ("ไกรทอง") tales have known as well,[33] and was taken to create a television series and movies several times.[34]

A Siamese crocodile stars as the titular monster in the 1978 Thailand film Crocodile.[35]

References

  1. ^ Rio, J. P. & Mannion, P. D. (2021). "Phylogenetic analysis of a new morphological dataset elucidates the evolutionary history of Crocodylia and resolves the long-standing gharial problem". PeerJ. 9: e12094. doi:10.7717/peerj.12094. PMC 8428266. PMID 34567843.
  2. ^ a b c Bezuijen, M.; Simpson, B.; Behler, N.; Daltry, J. & Tempsiripong, Y. (2012). "Crocodylus siamensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012: e.T5671A3048087. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012.RLTS.T5671A3048087.en. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  3. ^ a b Crocodilian Species List: (January 2009). "Crocodylus siamensis".
  4. ^ Michael S. Y. Lee; Adam M. Yates (27 June 2018). "Tip-dating and homoplasy: reconciling the shallow molecular divergences of modern gharials with their long fossil". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 285 (1881). doi:10.1098/rspb.2018.1071.
  5. ^ Hekkala, E.; Gatesy, J.; Narechania, A.; Meredith, R.; Russello, M.; Aardema, M. L.; Jensen, E.; Montanari, S.; Brochu, C.; Norell, M.; Amato, G. (2021-04-27). "Paleogenomics illuminates the evolutionary history of the extinct Holocene "horned" crocodile of Madagascar, Voay robustus". Communications Biology. 4 (1): 1–11. doi:10.1038/s42003-021-02017-0. ISSN 2399-3642. PMC 8079395.
  6. ^ a b Steel, Rodney (1989). Crocodiles. London.
  7. ^ Pye, Geoffrey W.; Brown, Daniel R.; Nogueira, Marcia F.; Vliet, Kent A.; Schoeb, Trenton R.; Jacobson, Elliott R. & Bennett, R. Avery (2001). "Experimental inoculation of broad-nosed caimans (Caiman latirostris) and Siamese crocodiles (Crocodylus siamensis) with Mycoplasma alligatoris". Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 32 (2): 196–201. doi:10.1638/1042-7260(2001)032[0196:eiobnc]2.0.co;2. JSTOR 20096098. PMID 12790420.
  8. ^ "Adjuntament de Barcelona – Crocodile". Zoobarcelona.cat. Archived from the original on 2016-04-08. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  9. ^ Renegade reptiles by Tom Lee
  10. ^ Alleged Siamese crocodile found dead in Vietnam. tuoitrenews.vn (September 30, 2012)
  11. ^ "Farmer raises 6000 crocs". Chinadaily.com.cn. 2012-07-10. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Simpson, Boyd; Bezuijen (2010). "Siamese Crocodile Crocodylus Siamensis" (PDF). Crocodiles. Third Edition. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  13. ^ a b c Ross, R.P. "Crocodiles: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan" (Second ed.). Archived from the original on 2011-12-24. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  14. ^ Alderton, D. (1991). Crocodiles and Alligators of the World. Blandford, London.
  15. ^ Cox, M.J. van Dijk, P.P, Nabhitabhata, J and Thirakhupt, K. (2009) A photographic guide to Snakes and other reptiles of Thailand and South-East Asia. Asia Books Co. Ltd. Bangkok. ISBN 0883590433.
  16. ^ CrocBITE, Worldwide Crocodilian Attack Database: Siamese crocodile, 15 June 2008. Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia.
  17. ^ CrocBITE, Worldwide Crocodilian Attack Database: Siamese crocodile, 15 July 2012. Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia.
  18. ^ CrocBITE, Worldwide Crocodilian Attack Database: Siamese crocodile, 1 January 2017. Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia.
  19. ^ CrocBITE, Worldwide Crocodilian Attack Database: Siamese crocodile, 15 June 1944. Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia.
  20. ^ CrocBITE, Worldwide Crocodilian Attack Database: Siamese crocodile, 1 January 1928. Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia.
  21. ^ Phiapalath, P.; Voladet, H. "Wetland Priority Sites in Lao PDR – the top five priority sites" (PDF). IUCN (Climate Change Impact and Vulnerability Assessment for the Wetlands of the Lower Mekong Basin for Adaptation Planning). Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  22. ^ Hogan, Z.S.; Moyle, May; Vander Zanden, Baird (2004). "The imperiled giants of the Mekong". American Scientist. 92 (3): 228–237. doi:10.1511/2004.3.228.
  23. ^ Lamberts, D (2001). "Tonle Sap fisheries: A Case Study on Floodplain Gillette Fisheries in Siam Reap Cambodia". RAP Publication. Bangkok: FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
  24. ^ a b c Thuok; T. (1994). "Country report on crocodile conservation in Cambodia" (PDF). Crocodiles: Proceedings of the 12th Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group. IUCN Publications: 3–15.
  25. ^ Kimura, W (1969). "Crocodiles in Cambodia, Research Report No. 3 Atawgawa Tropical Garden and Alligator Farm". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  26. ^ a b Thorbjarnarson, J (2001). "herpetology trip report: Cambodia. Report to Wildlife Conservation Society". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  27. ^ PAC2013 (2009-07-05). "Siamese Crocodile Conservation Case Study | The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund". Speciesconservation.org. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  28. ^ Endangered crocodiles hatched in Cambodia. The Associated Press via cbc.ca (June 10, 2010)
  29. ^ "WCS Helps Hatch Rare Siamese Crocodiles in Lao PDR". Retrieved 2011-12-01.
  30. ^ "Hatchlings of endangered crocodile species found in Cambodia". AP NEWS. 2021-09-21. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  31. ^ Ross, James (1998). "Crocodiles: Status Survey and conservation Action Plan. Second Edition. IUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist Group". Archived from the original on 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  32. ^ Winsedtt, R. V. (1906). "Some Mouse-deer Tales". Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 45: 61–69.
  33. ^ "ตำนานและนิทานพื้นบ้านจังหวัดพิจิตร เรื่องชาละวัน- ไกรทอง" (in Thai). ท่องเที่ยวพิจิตร. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  34. ^ "เปิดตัว พญาชาละวัน จากเรื่องไกรทอง 2015 เวอร์ชั่นนี้แซ่บเว่อร์ !!". Kapook.com (in Thai). 28 September 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  35. ^ "Line กนก 8 พฤศจิกายน 2558 FULL". Nation TV (in Thai). 8 November 2015. Archived from the original on 2020-02-16. Retrieved 19 June 2016.

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Siamese crocodile: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

The Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) is a medium-sized freshwater crocodile native to Indonesia (Borneo and possibly Java), Brunei, East Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The species is critically endangered and already extirpated from many regions. Its other common names include Siamese freshwater crocodile, Singapore small-grain, and soft-belly.

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Crocodile du Siam

provided by wikipedia FR

Crocodylus siamensis

Crocodylus siamensis, le Crocodile du Siam, est une espèce de crocodiliens de la famille des Crocodylidae[1].

Répartition

 src=
Distribution

Cette espèce se rencontre en Birmanie, en Thaïlande, au Laos, au Cambodge, au Viêt Nam, en Malaisie, au Brunei Darussalam et en Indonésie au Kalimantan[1].

Sa présence est incertaine à Java

Mais l'espèce a très fortement régressé dans tous ces pays et elle a pu disparaître de la plupart d'entre eux.

Description

 src=
Gros plan sur l'œil et les dents d'un crocodile du Siam
 src=
Crocodile du Siam

Le crocodile du Siam peut atteindre les 3 mètres de long, beaucoup plus rarement 4 mètres.

Cette espèce mange des poissons.

La femelle crocodile pond de 20 à 48 œufs. L'incubation dure de 68 à 85 jours. Les petits quittent leur mère et chassent seuls au bout d'environ 80 jours[2].

On ignore presque tout de sa biologie et de son écologie. Il semble fréquenter les eaux douces.

Conservation

Les populations actuelles sont très faibles : moins de 5 000 individus en captivité et peut-être 250 en liberté. L'avenir de l'espèce semble très critique d'autant que l'on ignore encore presque tout de sa réelle distribution. Si les populations semblaient avoir disparu de Thaïlande, les derniers individus ont pu survivre et se reproduire dans le parc national de Kaeng Krachan[3],[4], dans le lac Nong Han, dernier refuge du crocodile du Siam ; leur population à l'état sauvage dans ce pays est estimée à une vingtaine d'individus début 2021[5]. Les programmes d'élevage au Cambodge sont une réussite. Mais dans ce pays, la réduction de nombreuses populations semble irrémédiable.

Les principales menaces sont la chasse et la destruction de son habitat qui est converti pour l'agriculture. La valeur de sa peau devrait permettre un essor de son élevage. De plus, le faible danger qu'il représente, devrait être un argument supplémentaire pour les populations. La possible hybridation avec Crocodylus porosus dans ces fermes d'élevage pourrait être une nouvelle menace.

Mais le plus grand danger pour le crocodile du Siam est le trafic pour alimenter les restaurants chinois : la police chinoise, de la région de Guangxi Zhuang, a saisi plus de 3.600 crocodiles du Siam, aux abords de la frontière vietnamienne. Les reptiles, destinés à rejoindre la province de Guangdong pour fournir les restaurants, sont actuellement victimes d'un important trafic.

Culture populaire

Dans l'imaginaire thaïlandais, les animaux des forêts tropicales sont très présents. Contes et légendes racontent des histoires de crocodiles du Siam, aux côtés de tigres, d'éléphants...

De très anciennes croyances siamoises parlent d'hommes pouvant se transformer en animaux : en crocodiles du Siam dans la légende de Kraithong[6],[7] (souvent adaptée en film[8]) et dans Khun Chang Khun Phaen[9] (thaï: ขุนช้างขุนแผน[10])[11], la première grande œuvre littéraire thaïlandaise, très longue épopée en vers qui se déroule vers l'an 1500, épopée adaptée en film en 2002.

Étymologie

Son nom d'espèce, composé de siam et du suffixe latin -ensis, « qui vit dans, qui habite », lui a été donné en référence au lieu de sa découverte, le Siam, l'ancien nom de la Thaïlande.

Publication originale

  • Schneider, 1801 : Historiae Amphibiorum naturalis et literariae. Fasciculus secundus continens Crocodilos, Scincos, Chamaesauras, Boas. Pseudoboas, Elapes, Angues. Amphisbaenas et Caecilias. Frommani, Jena, p. 1-374 (texte intégral).

Notes et références

  1. a et b (en) Référence Reptarium Reptile Database : Crocodylus siamensis
  2. (th) « นักอนุรักษ์เฮ! กล้องดักถ่ายอุทยานแห่งชาติแก่งกระจานพบจระเข้สายพันธุ์ไทยใกล้สูญพันธุ์ », sur matichon.co.th, Matichon,‎ 23 janvier 2021
  3. (en) The Nation, « Area home to near-extinct Siamese crocodile declared protected zone », sur nationthailand.com, The Nation (Thaïlande), 18 juillet 2019
  4. (en) The Nation, « Rare Siamese crocodile spotted in Phetchaburi River », sur nationthailand.com, The Nation (Thailand), 24 janvier 2020
  5. « Biodiversité : un crocodile du Siam, en voie d'extinction, aperçu dans un parc de Thaïlande », sur Franceinfo, 23 janvier 2021 (consulté le 23 janvier 2021)
  6. (en) Thanapol (Lamduan) Chadchaidee, Fascinating Folktales of Thailand, 2011, 275 p. (ISBN 978-616-245-055-6, lire en ligne), p. Conte 9 Krai Thong pages 29 à 32
  7. (th + fr) Wanee Pooput et Michèle Conjeaud (préf. Gilles Delouche, ill. Thumwimol Pornthum), Pratique du thaï - Volume 2, L'Asiathèque - maison des langues du monde, 2010, 352 p. (ISBN 978-2-36057-012-6), p. Leçon 4 - Kraithong pages 44 à 49
  8. (th) « หอภาพยนตร์ จัดเทศกาลภาพยนตร์ครั้งพิเศษ เพื่อรำลึกถึงผู้จากไป », sur matichon.co.th, Matichon,‎ 29 juillet 2020
  9. (en) Thanapol (Lamduan) Chadchaidee, Fascinating Folktales of Thailand, 2011, 275 p. (ISBN 978-616-245-055-6, lire en ligne), p. Conte 7 Khun Chang and Khun Phaen pages 17 à 24
  10. (fr + th) Collectif, Florilège de la littérature thaïlandaise, Duang Kamol (éditeur), 1988, 470 p. (ISBN 974-210-432-8), p. Chapitre 4 : KHUN CHANG KHUN PHEN pages 165 à 218
  11. Madame J. Kasem SIBUNRUANG (traduit par), "Khun Chang Khun Phèn" ; LA FEMME, LE HEROS ET LE VILAIN ; Poème populaire thaï, Presse Universitaire de France, 1960, 162 p.

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Crocodile du Siam: Brief Summary

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Crocodylus siamensis

Crocodylus siamensis, le Crocodile du Siam, est une espèce de crocodiliens de la famille des Crocodylidae.

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