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The Orinoco Crocodiles Finally Find A Home

Two Orinoco crocodiles are currently being moved from Welland in Ontario, Canada to Gladys Porter Zoo in the US as part of an attempt to save the species from becoming extinct.  The critically endangered Orinoco reptiles come from Columbia and Venezuela in South America. They are hunted for their hides which are sold at excruciatingly high prices. Considered the New World crocodiles, the Orinoco crocodiles have, in the past 3 generations, their population declined by as much as 80%.


Around the early 1990s, there were less than 1,500 baby Orinoco crocodiles living in the wild with an educated guess of 250 adults only. This is why there is a sense of desperation in trying to revive the population and bring the numbers up again. It obviously isn’t working because in this day and age, money is apparently more important than saving these reptiles.

It just happened that one enterprising and caring Canadian with a business called Seaway Serpentarium decided to bring in two Orinoco crocodiles to breed. These two were named Suede and Blade.  The owner of the facility, Mr. Karel Fortyn was in the process of planning new facilities for them because they were growing too big when he suddenly passed away.  Blade at the time of the owner’s death weighed about 1,400 lbs and is about 13 feet long. The female crocodile, Suede weighs about 700 lbs and is 11 feet long.

The Canadian Orinoco Crocodile Team worked feverishly with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to find a new home where the crocodiles could live and hopefully breed in peace. Fortunately the Gladys Porter Zoo volunteered to take them in, and this summer began building a new exhibit area for them.

The animals need to be transported before the winter season because of the cold temperatures which could cause a lot of headaches for all parties. Permits were just issues a few days ago, and the process of moving them has begun in earnest.

Americans can now plan their trip to South Texas to see the pair who should be in their new home within a couple of weeks. The problem that must be faced first is how to extract them from their cramp home, crate and secure them without the crocodiles dying from their own acid emissions. This happens when crocodiles get stressed and release acids internally which the body cannot process as quickly. In short, if the move is not done properly and carefully, they could die from internal poisoning.