Phnom Penh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Siamese crocodile in Cambodia is at risk of extinction, due to the increasing industrial development and the construction of dams in the protected areas, the natural habitat of the reptile. Until a century ago the animal populated areas of South-East Asia, is now it is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Today there are fewer than 250 adults living in freedom, mostly located in remote areas of the north-east and south-west of Cambodia, in the Cardamom Mountains, where there are also other endangered species including the Indochinese tiger .
Since 2000 a campaign has been fighting for the protection of the Siamese crocodile, the Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Project. In the past, they were most at risk from poaching and while today hydroelectric plants threaten their extinction. One of these is the Stung Atay, within the Cardamom Mountains, with a capacity of 120 megawatts and four acres wide, around 14 dams are planned by 2003.
A team of Australia Zoo's Wildlife Rescue Unit has spent two years with experts from Cambodia, to start the project to capture and re-locate the reptiles in a protected area. To protect the health of the crocodiles during capture, environmentalists have studied the methods used by Steve Irwin, the famous Australian "Crododile Hunter" who died in 2006.