A nest of 19 critically endangered Siamese crocodile eggs were discovered by a conservation team in Koh Kong province, the first such find in six years in the Sre Ambel river system, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Cambodia said in a statement on Wednesday.
With 100 to 300 wild adult Siamese crocodiles estimated to be inhabiting Cambodia—out of a global population of about 410—Cambodia is “the most important country for the species,” the statement said.
The eggs, found on Monday and which are around the size of goose eggs, were moved closer to the home of a local villager in Sre Ambel district to keep them safe, said Eng Mengey, communications officer for WCS.
“After hatching, the baby crocodiles will be taken to Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center for raising,” Mr. Mengey said in an email.
They would later be released back into the wild, said In Hul, deputy director of the Fisheries Administration’s fisheries conservation department, one of the three people in the team that found the nest.
“For me and the team…we see the signs, we see the tracks, we see the eggs. All the people are really happy,” he said.
Threats to Siamese crocodiles include habitat degradation, low chance of wild breeding and “illegal hunting of adults and hatchlings and collecting of eggs to supply crocodile farms in Cambodia and Thailand,” WCS said in the statement.
In the past eight years, large-scale government development projects such as hydropower dams, and “the government’s sheer inability to mitigate or minimize negative impacts caused by these dams,” have also threatened the species in Koh Kong, Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, founder of environmental NGO Mother Nature, said in a message.