A few days ago we received a call from a lady who had a rather dangerous unwanted pet, a 3-year-old Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis), the WFFT Rescue Team headed out to investigate. The lady who had the crocodile told us that it was given to her son 3 years ago as a very small baby, since then it has lived in a small fish tank in her garden. As you can see from the pictures the crocodile had outgrown the inadequate home she had given him.
In 1992 the Siamese crocodile was reported as virtually extinct in the wild and in 1996 was accorded the IUCN Red List status of ‘Critically Endangered (CR). This status remains unchanged. Field surveys, nearly all conducted since 2000, have confirmed that extant populations persist, but that all are severely diminished and fragmented. In 20th century commercial hunting for the skin trade and collection of live animals to stock crocodile farms, are considered to be the principal causes for its decline.
In Thailand it was historically common and widely distributed; extant populations have been confirmed in a small number of scattered localities in central and western parts of the country, confirmed sites include Pang Sida and Kaeng Krachan National Parks. In Thailand, fewer than five wild nests and few hatchlings have been recorded over the past five years, suggesting low clutch fertility. All remnant subpopulations are small and fragmented. Most current threats, including illegal collection and habitat loss or degradation, are ongoing, suggesting that without conservation interventions, extant populations will continue to decline (IUCN, 2016).
Keeping any wild animal as a pet is wrong and can have drastic consequences to wild populations of highly endangered species. Keeping large carnivorous predators as pets seems like madness, people often do not think that ‘the cute little’ animal will grow into something capable of causing death to its owner. Luckily for this little one, he is no longer confined to a tiny glass fish tank. We have named him Dory, he is settling into life at WFFT in a larger enclosure with a pool, rocks to climb and a dry area to bathe in the sun. He is currently next to another Siamese crocodile and we hope they will become firm friends in the future. Keep wildlife wild and not as pets.