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An endangered Siam crocodile, estimated to be 3 meters long, was seen for the second time in just ten years in Thailand‘s largest national park, according to photos released Saturday by park officials.
This freshwater reptile was photographed by a photographic trap (which allows, as the name suggests, to photograph an animal as it passes) while sunbathing on a shore after emerging from the water, in the Kaeng Krachan National Park, in the border area with Burma.
Formerly ubiquitous in Southeast Asia, this species has practically disappeared from the region. It is currently classified as “critically endangered” on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, which is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.
Those responsible for the national park estimate that only about twenty remain in the wild due to poaching and the disappearance of their habitat.
The images of this crocodile – never seen before by the authorities – were taken in December and are “proof that the Kaeng Krachan National Park is an important area for wildlife conservation,” said Manoon Prewsoongnern, a park official, who works with the NGO World Conservation Society.
According to estimates, the length of this reptile would be about 3 meters, Prewsoongnern says, adding that it is the second time in ten years that a specimen of this type has been observed.
The animal is especially sought after by poachers, who use its fur to make luxury belts, shoes and bags.
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