Zoos Victoria staff recently visited our Philippine conservation partner, the Mabuwaya Foundation to help release 12 captive-reared Philippines Crocodiles back into the wild in northern Philippines.
Philippines Crocodiles are the most endangered crocodiles in the world, currently threatened by hunting, loss of isolated populations, ongoing habitat destruction and negative community attitudes towards crocodiles in some areas.
Chris Banks, Manager of our International Conservation Partnerships, introduced Kevin Tanner, Melbourne Zoo Director, Brooke Squires, Conservation Officer and Deon Gilbert, Melbourne Zoo reptile specialist to the Mabuwaya team and the northern Luzon experience in protecting this species from extinction.
The team visited all four crocodile breeding sites in unusually wet and cool weather, and helped with the release of 12 captive-reared crocodiles – including one each by Kevin and Chris, named 'Melbourne' and 'Victoria' respectively.
The releases celebrate the strong community engagement with the recovery program, which is a critically important factor in its success.
As well as the crocodile releases, the Zoos Victoria team met with crocodile sanctuary guards and local government councillors to deepen our understanding of the challenges associated with saving the world’s most endangered crocodile in this remote region.