Crocodile Farm, Siem Reap | Cambodia

Crocodile

Crocodile Farm is one of Siem Reap’s most searched locations after the tourist attractions. This crocodile farm is opposite to the side of the road towards Tonle Sap Lake. It holds approximately 300 crocodiles in varying sizes. Foreigners need to pay US$1 for entrance and locals need to pay 1,000 riels as the entrance fee. You can also buy stuffed crocs there. Getting to Crocodile Farm in Siem Reap seems to be very quick, you just need to move south on Sivutha Road, then cross the bridge afterward and it is another half kilometer down from there.

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An Overview of the Crocodile Farm

Overview of Crocodile Farm
Source: Poster for the fly

“Help preserve the wild animals,” is on the tokens you receive for entrance into this Crocodile Farm. A Thai handbag manufacturer is more willing to protect the crocodiles than a socially conscious zoo director. Regardless, at the ranch, the crocodiles were here for a decent time, if not for a lot longer. The crocodiles are handled as the valuable assets from the second these crocodiles push their jaws out of the egg-shell.

You can even see crocodile habitats at Siem Reap, Crocodile Farm. The crocodile habitats at first glance seem just like any other dirt pile. After the incubation period has passed, which is 75 days long, every courageous visitor waits for the mom crocodile to float, then carry the fully prepared eggs to hatch to the covered area where the little ones first pop their jaws.

Hatching these crocodiles typically occurs early in the morning and early tourists get the perfect look at the minute-old crocodiles but often the team will even let you carry one. A good genetic crocodile will produce around 40 eggs per year, and a complete-grown female crocodile collects about $400. The Crocodile Restaurant is also centrally located next to the entrance door. Diners must book in advance to confirm whether the reptile will be on board. Whether you decide to visit Siem Reap to trade or leisure time, a trip to the Crocodile Farm is a must.


The Founding Story of the Farm

Baby Crocodile
Source: The Diplomat

Before 2000, when scientists from Fauna Flora International and the Forestry Department of the Republic of Cambodia verified the existence of Siamese crocodiles throughout the Cardamom Mountains in South-West Cambodia, it was considered to be incredibly endangered or extinct in the wild.

Following centuries of poaching and habitat destruction, the Siamese crocodile has become 99% extinct of its former territory. Less than 250 adults exist, most often in Cambodia, the species was regained in early 2000 by FFI. Through establishing crocodile sanctuaries supervised on local community hunters, FFI is collaborating with the Cambodian government and public governments to conserve the existing wild crocodiles and also their habitats. FFI also promotes sustainable development and livelihoods in the regions where they operate. They also support tighter regulations on crocodile cultivation and commerce with research and surveillance.

FFI managed to identify 35 plain-bred Siamese crocodiles at a local wildlife sanctuary in 2009, and since then has established the country’s only wildlife breeding program which is a crucial source of species diversity for the species’ reintroduction into new locations. The Cambodian Crocodile-Conservation Initiative and there is a campaign starting in 2012, under the National Siamese Crocodile Revival and Stimulation Action Plan, to bring plain-bred animals back in the wild at appropriate locations in the Cardamom Mountains.


Fund Raising Campaign 

Siamese Crocodile
Source: Fauna and Flora International

Fauna & Flora International also initiated an international alarm campaign to raise more money to save even more of the world’s few surviving Siamese crocodiles from a vulnerable breeding population. Building a hydropower project in Cambodia’s Cardamom Alps would kill most crocodiles if they are not moved immediately.

News broke out on 8 February 2013 that China Guodian Corporation would construct a hydropower system on the Areng River. The dam would kill the critically endangered Siamese crocodiles. At least 5 percent of the worldwide population and six communities to have to evacuate. The firm intended to start work in July.


The Contribution of the Locals to Crocodile Farm

Baby Crocodile in Fauna and Flora International
Source: Southeast Asia Globe

The Areng River was well recognized by the Fauna and Flora International (FFI). The Cambodian Crocodile-Conservation Project, which is a collaborative venture between the FFI and the Forestry Department of the Cambodian Government, has been co-operating with indigenous people to protect the threatened species of Siamese crocodiles for even more than a decade. The rural communities have effectively preserved the crocodiles from trafficking, habitat destruction and tribal conflict through the funding of this project.

History says that the Khmer Rouge preferred crocodiles to feed captives. Previously, people blame the crocodile farms operators for charging visitors $10 to feed the starving, toothy predators with live ducks and chickens. Crocodile farms nourish and shelter the lizard for their milk. A store of diverse leather goods stands at the end within each walk in the Crocodile Farm.


Features and Recognition

Areng Alley
Source: Current Conservation

The crocodile population of the Areng River has stabilized at around  30-40 adults and young ones. As the world’s second-biggest recognized Siamese crocodile colony, this location is just one of the very few locations where this animal grows. National Geographic, as well as the BBC’s Saving Planet Earth, featured this significant population, and FFI’s conservation efforts here.

 


Finally, the extensive crocodile farms in and out of the Siem Reap town have become an alternative for temple-weary visitors now. Cambodia’s crocodile is in demand around the regions such as Vietnam and Thailand as well. Each croc can cost within US$600-$800 while the yellow-skinned crocodiles are receiving a higher price. Hopefully, this article provides you with enough information and interests you to visit the crocodile farm in Cambodia.

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