A Siamese crocodile, an endangered species in Thailand, has been seen in Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi province. Photos have shown a crocodile floating in the water to confirm that the species can still be found in the wild. 

The National Park had declared the Wang Kha area on the banks of Phetchaburi River as a protected zone for the near-extinct freshwater Siamese crocodile. The zone had been designated as a protected habitat and egg-laying ground for the species and monitored by patrols.

Mana Phermpool, chief of Kaeng Krachan National Park he had previously sent a team of park officers with a veterinarian to inspect the Wang Kha area to check for crocodile eggs. The team found a nest with 16 crocodile eggs but most had been eaten by a water monitor.  It is estimated that the park has only 5-7 Siamese crocodiles.

Siamese crocodiles at Kaeng Krachan received particular attention because they are believed to be of the pure-blooded freshwater Siamese crocodile strain. The presence of these near-extinct freshwater Siamese crocodiles also was a key indicator of Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex’s fertility in the proposal to list it as a World Heritage Site.

Siamese crocodiles are mid-size crocodilians, three to four metres long. They were regularly found in natural water habitats in the past but were hunted until being reduced to critical numbers.

The Thai law-protected Siamese crocodile was on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)’s “Appendix I” list of most endangered animals and the International Union for Conversation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)’s list of critically endangered species.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) puts Siamese crocodiles into a category of critically endangered species on the IUCN Red List.  There will be a documentary to encourage Siamese crocodile conservation supported by the government organisations, the private sector and the Wildlife Conservation Society.