World's most endangered Crocodile celebrates milestone at Melbourne Zoo
One of the world’s most critically endangered animals is celebrating a special occasion at Melbourne Zoo today (July 22) in the most interesting of ways.
Philippine Crocodile, Luzon, today reaches the landmark age of 21. However, instead of tucking into a meaty meal, it turns out that this carnivorous reptile actually has quite a taste for rock melon.
The fascinating crocodile hardly paused to inspect the “21” carved into the cantaloupe – a special treat gifted by the zoo’s reptile keepers to celebrate Luzon’s special day.
While turning 21 years old is a major life event for most, Luzon’s birthday holds even greater significance.
The Philippine Crocodile is so rare that it’s estimated as few of 90 of the species remain in the wild. This makes Luzon among the world’s most endangered crocodiles and an ambassador for his species in the Australasian region.
"The Philippine Crocodile is so rare that it’s estimated as few of 90 of the species remain in the wild."
Zoos Victoria is committed to an international recovery program for the Philippine Crocodile. It works closely with the Mabuwaya Foundation, the Philippine Government and the Philippine community to generate awareness about the species’ plight in the wild from habitat destruction and hunting.
During the past five years, up to 20 Philippine Crocodiles have been bred and nurtured in the Philippines each year as part of this recovery program, and later released into their natural habitat in Philippine waters. The recovery program aims to increase the species’ wild numbers to a sustainable population of 200.
Luzon is one of two Philippine Crocodiles at Melbourne Zoo. Both have contributed to the Australasian region’s breeding program and the species’ genetic diversity, while raising awareness among zoo visitors.
You can see the Luzon up close in Melbourne Zoo’s Reptile House 9:30am-4:30pm seven days a week.