Status, Distribution, and Ecology of the Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) in Central Lao PDR

29 Jul 2020 Laos, Asia

Paseun Souvannasy

The Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) is the most threatened species of crocodians and already to become extinct in the wild from many regions, current species was listed in the IUCN Red List status of Critically Endangered.

Natural distribution of the species in Laos are occurred in the Xe Champhone, Xe Banghiang, Xe Bangfai and Xe Xangxoy river systems (Savannakhet Province), Xe Pian - Xe Khampho river systems (Attapu Province) and etc.

The proposed research will involve the following contributions: Numbers of individuals and their distribution will be documented, based on the analysis of feces, Information on crocodile attacks to people and the threats to the species will be identified, raising awareness of local people, extend the species conservation are for C. siamensis, engage in further in situ conservation activities such as an establishment of a new conservation area and breeding site.

The Siamese Crocodile is listed under Appendix I of CITES, and it is enlisted in the IUCN Red List (2019) as Critically Endangered with declining population trend. In Laos, C. siamensis is classified “at Risk”, the highest national threat ranking (Bezuijen et al. 2006). Now the Siamese Crocodile is rare or locally extinct at many sites (Bezuijen et al. 2013). These authors recorded the presence of the species in 13 sites of six river systems Thus, remnant C. siamensis populations in Laos are of global importance.

The purpose of the project is to to investigate the presence of the population at the study site, estimate the population size, collect key information on habitat suitability, identify the threats to the population and provide appropriate conservation measures.

The implementation method to be used: Training Course, interviews, field, visual Encounter Surveys, dung surveys, track surveys, nest surveys and data analysis will use diet and genetic analysis.

The timeline will be conducted as below:

Training course August 1-3rd, 2020

Interviews August 4th, 2020

The field surveys and data collection August 7th - Sept 15th, 2020

Data analysis Oct 1st – 30th 2020

Report and manuscript preparation November 1st – 15th, 2020

Key information on habitat suitability including detailed habitat characteristics (e.g. pond size, water level, surrounding flora and fauna, etc.) will be provided.

By raising awareness for conservation in local communities, we expect to reduce human impacts on the endangered species in the unprotected area. Local people and forest rangers have opportunities to obtain skills and experience for the identification of the species.

The protected area for the Siamese Crocodile in Soc village should be extended to Ka Cham village for protecting the second population of the species in Khammuane Province.