A fisherman netted an unusual catch while fishing in Sre Ambel in the form of a baby Siamese crocodile, which he handed over to Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to release back into the wild.
On Monday, Ou Sokheng, a 57-year-old fisherman from Koh Kong province, handed the juvenile Siamese crocodile to WCS’s conservation team, according to its official Facebook page.
The WCS post said Sokheng has been fishing in the area for more than two decades and has witnessed first-hand the decline in crocodile habitats. He noted that land is being taken for agriculture and new settlements, dramatically decreasing crocodile numbers.
Despite this, he said that neither his family or other villagers have had any issues with crocodiles, even though they frequently fish in the same waters.
WCS saves wildlife and ecological sites worldwide through science, global conservation, education and management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks.
The WCS page said, “This team is a collaboration between the WCS Cambodia and the Fisheries Administration. The young crocodile was quickly released back into its natural habitat.
“The community has a deep spiritual connection to the species and believes that the crocodiles are guardians of natural resources and community well-being.”
WCS stated, “Siamese Crocodile populations have plummeted over the past 20 years, mainly due to illegal poaching for their skins and habitat destruction.”
Kiripost attempted to contact WCS for comment, but received no response at the time of publication.
In Hul, Deputy Director of the Fisheries Conservation Department at the Fisheries Administration, noted that locals have coexisted peacefully with Siamese crocodiles for centuries in Cambodia.
He said, "There hasn't been a single case of these crocodiles attacking humans, even though we share the same living spaces." Hul added that he is thrilled to see community members actively participating in conservation efforts by rescuing crocodiles and protecting their habitats.