The Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) is one of the most critically endangered crocodile species in the world, with fewer than 150 individuals in the wild (IUCN Red List). But recent results from reintroduction efforts are unlocking some of the mysteries of this species and giving hope for recovery. Zoo-born juvenile crocodiles reintroduced into the wild have greatly contributed to knowledge about the biology and natural history of the species. Researchers have documented breeding in the wild (a major mark of success for reintroduction!) and learned more about the crocodiles’ behaviour that will help further conservation management.  

The crocodiles have been discovered exhibiting previously undocumented behaviour – they can climb steep slopes to access cooler temperature habitat! This discovery provides valuable insight into the life history of this enigmatic species and will enable better habitat protection and refine survey techniques. With the discovery of nests in the wild and a positive outlook on finding more nests this coming breeding season as well as additional planned releases of captive-bred animals, this could be a turning point for the recovery of the Philippine crocodile.

This project shows how combining in situ (in the wild) and ex situ (in human care) management strategies can help species recovery. The range of ex situ conservation roles is broad, and when used strategically and integrated with other actions, ex situ methods can be a key tool for species conservation that complements efforts in the wild – this integration is called the One Plan Approach, where one comprehensive conservation plan is developed for an endangered species that bridges the gap between wild and captive population management.

Co-founded by WPC, the Canadian Species Initiative (CSI) aims to ensure that species recovery planning in Canada integrates in situ and ex situ conservation interventions by applying the One Plan Approach to recovery planning for our most at-risk species.

Read more about the Philippine Crocodile project here: https://news.mongabay.com/2021/04/rare-captive-bred-crocodiles-develop-new-odd-habits-in-philippine-wild/

Stephanie Winton

Canada’s New Noah and Species Conservation Planning Assistant – Canadian Species Initiative

Stephanie is the 31st Canada’s New Noah and is currently assisting the Canadian Species Initiative to build capacity for species conservation planning in Canada. Stephanie holds a master’s degree in conservation biology from Thompson Rivers University where she studied the impacts of road mortality on a threatened rattlesnake species. She has extensive experience working in conservation and research for species at risk reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds in Western Canada.

 

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