Monday, September 29, 2008

Did rare pearly crocodiles survive Hurricane Ike?


This wire story caught my eye the other day:

Aging Cuban crocodile from NYC arrives in Miami
MIAMI - A Cuban crocodile who spent the past four decades at the Bronx Zoo will live out her remaining days in Miami.
The crocodile, named Maria, boarded a plane to Miami this week as she nears the end of her life expectancy. She has had several children and lost her mate, Fidel, years ago. She's at least 40 years old.
Her new home is the Miami Metrozoo.
Zookeepers say crocodiles like Maria are an endangered species and are only found in the wild on Cuba's Isla de la Juventud and in the Zapata Swamp.
I wonder how all the crocs in the Zapata Swamp and on the Isla de la Juventud are faring now after Hurricane Ike tore through the region.

Cuban scientists are respected for their efforts to protect the pearly crocodile, one of the world's rarest specimens. Here's a video of an American scientist talking about the Cuban crocodiles. Also: a 2007 YouTube of some of the crocs at Zapata Swamp.

I interviewed U.S. and Cuban scientists for a story about the crocodiles several years ago. Among those Cuban scientists I met was Damarys Lopez, who kissed a small crocodile at Zapata Swamp while I took pictures.
"I love these animals," she told me. "I don't want them to go the way of the dinosaur, and that's why I work to protect them."


1 comment:

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Why are Cuba's crocodiles in danger of extinction?

1). Fidel Castro's draining of the Zapata swamps (the greatest ecological disaster in Cuban history).

2). The people (also thanks to Fidel) will eat anything.