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Four endangered American crocodiles born in Peru

AFP – A Lima zoo announced recently the birth in captivity of four American crocodiles, an endangered species, after a successful artificial incubation.

The crocodile hatchlings were born in mid-January after 78 days of incubation from the eggs of a pair of adult crocodiles that live in the Huachipa Zoological Park, east of Lima.

“We have now shown these crocodile pups that were just born 45 days ago at the zoo,” Jose Flores, head of the zoo’s reptile area, told AFP.

“Any birth of any species that is threatened and (in) danger of extinction must be considered an achievement,” he stressed.

The hatchlings live in a special fish tank, measure 26 centimetres and weigh between 70 and 90 grammes each.

They have the traditional olive green colour of the species and protruding eyes. They feed on small pieces of chicken and fish.

A 45-day-old American crocodile hatchling is measured during its periodic control at the Huachipa Zoo, Peru. PHOTO: AP

In Peru, they are known as ‘Tumbes crocodiles’ because their natural habitat is the mangroves of Tumbes, on the border with Ecuador.

“This species, in Peru, is in danger of extinction mainly due to the destruction of its natural habitat,” explained Flores, 39.

The small reptiles belong to the Crocodylus Acutus species and are the only ones that survived from the 25 eggs that the mother incubated.

At 195 kilogrammes, the father crocodile is five metres long while the mother is 2.5 metres long and weighs 85 kilogrammes. They are both 20 years old.

This species is found in the southern United States, Mexico and Venezuela, but in countries such as Peru and Ecuador it is critically endangered.

Relentless hunting for their skins reduced numbers dramatically in the 1960s. There are now restrictions controlling the trade in crocodiles and their skins.