The emblematic Orinoco Crocodile or Crocodylus intermedius, a critically endangered species, has been given a new opportunity for its conservation.
Twenty Orinoco crocodiles (Crocodylus intermedius) were reintroduced into their natural environment on Tuesday at El Tuparro Natural National Park, a site that had already received 21 specimens of this critically endangered species back in May 2015.
This time around, the group of crocodiles included twelve females and eight males, ranging between 33 and 43 inches long. Just as the previous group, these reptiles will be carrying radio transmitters to track their movements and monitor their adaptation to their natural environment.
The name given to the selected area was “Crocodile Lagoon.” Located on the right bank of the Tomo River, in the Vichada Department, this location has the essential socio-environmental and logistical properties for the survival of this species.
A biological survey previously conducted in the area confirmed the presence of large predators and abundant wildlife, both of which are indicators of a healthy environment. Some of the species detected included jaguars, pumas, river otters, tapirs and curassows, among others. Additionally, the site has a generous offering of fish, the main food of the Orinoco crocodile.
Another advantage of the “Crocodile Lagoon” is its proximity to Marandúa, an Air Force base located on the opposite bank of the Tomo River, which will not only guarantee the safety of the area, but will also be essential in providing the researchers access to the area, for the continued monitoring of the reintroduced crocodiles.
This release is part of the Wildlife Project [U.1] (PVS), a program that originated in 2014 to protect 10 wildlife species in the Llanos Orientales and Magdalena Medio regions, led by WCS Colombia and financed by Ecopetrol, with the support of the Fundación Mario Santo Domingo. The project works with ten organizations, one for each species.
In the case of the Orinoco crocodile, the Fundación Palmarito is one of the ten partner organizations of the PVS, and it has been working to save this reptile since 2011, in partnership with the Casanare Government, Corporinoquia, Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia and Grupo GHL.
This initiative stems from the National Program for the Conservation of the Orinoco Crocodile, created in 1998 by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, along with other organizations.
The intense commercial hunting to which the Orinoco Crocodile was subjected during the second quarter of the previous century—primarily for the sale of its skin—, brought it to its current critically endangered status.
This is a true crocodile, one of the largest in the world. It lives exclusively in the lowlands of the Orinoco basin, and reproduces once a year. Its conservation entails the protection of other species, promotes the health of rivers and estuaries and provides a greater opportunity to attract ecotourism, all in a remarkable effort to rescue an iconic wildlife species which is part of the beautiful Orinocan culture.
For more information, please visit:
Fundacion Palmarito Casanare - www.fundacionpalmaritocasanare.org
Ecopetrol – www.ecopetrol.com.com
With the Support of:
Fundación Mario Santo Domingo