Summary

With alarming declines in Laos, the Siamese crocodile is on the brink of extinction. This urgent situation requires us to step up our conservation efforts. For this reason, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park (Florida, USA), is deploying the Siamese crocodile project, which aims to assess the Siamese crocodile population within the Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife (LCTW) in the Vientiane Province, and to build local capacity to safeguard them.

Bringing together the expertise of IRD, LCTW and international partners - the National University of Singapore, the National University of Vietnam (Hanoi, Vietnam), the Wildlife Conservation Society (New-York, USA), the St. Augustine Zoological Park (Florida, USA) and Cologne Zoo (Germany) - this project aims to safeguard the critically endangered Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) population in Laos, with a particular focus on the captive crocodile group hosted at LCTW. This initiative has several objectives:

  • Conduct an in-depth genetic analysis to assess the Siamese crocodile population within LCTW;
  • Formulate strategic breeding initiatives based on genetic knowledge;
  • Promote training initiatives for a variety of audiences, as well as capacity and knowledge building on Lao's biodiversity.
     

© IRD

Using cutting-edge DNA sequencing techniques, scientists plan to meticulously sample and sequence the genomes of around 80 individuals housed at LCTW. The resulting genetic data will highlight the presence of pure-bred Siamese crocodiles, facilitating the development of targeted breeding programs essential to the species' recovery.

© LCTW

At the same time, IRD Laos is committed to fostering local expertise by providing hands-on training in scientific methodologies and laboratory techniques, enabling various community players to develop their skills (local staff and Master's students, science internship for final-year students at the French International High School of Vientiane).

© ICTW

Following the development of comprehensive breeding strategies, the newborns will receive expert care at LCTW before returning to the wild, in order to ensure the long-term conservation of the species.

Contacts :

Sabrina Locatelli, project research manager and IRD Lao's representative
Jeremy Phan, LCTW director