Breeding programmes at Crocworld Conservation Centre bearing fruit

Wildlife conservation is at the heart of all the activities undertaken at Scottburgh’s Crocworld Conservation Centre. One of the key conservation strategies of Crocworld is the ongoing breeding programmes which are instrumental in furthering the genetic diversity of threatened species. To date, the team has noted a number of successes across both the birding and reptile gene pools.

“We are passionate about educating people about our diverse animal species, but alongside our many educational programmes are our breeding programmes that have proven incredibly effective,” said Crocworld Conservation Centre Manager, James Wittstock. “As a member of the international organisation, Species360, we are able to contribute to global conservation projects by collating and sharing this knowledge gained through the programmes. This improves animal welfare and informs species conservation.”

Species360 facilitates information collection from 1 200 aquarium, zoo, university, research and governmental facilities worldwide across 99 countries on six continents. Members like Crocworld curate the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), the world’s most comprehensive database of knowledge on more than 22 000 species, for the global fight against extinction.

Crocworld Conservation Centre breeding programmes

West African Dwarf Crocodiles

Crocworld is now home to a male West African Dwarf Crocodile, the smallest of five African crocodilian species.   He was brought in from a New Germany nature reserve where he was hunting the occasional blue duiker. Plans are in place to introduce him to the resident female later in the year for breeding season. 

American Alligator

The American Alligator was once endangered due to unregulated hunting, however protective legislation and breeding programmes have recovered the species. The main threat facing American Alligator species today is habitat loss which is why breeding programmes, such as the one at Crocworld, provide necessary back-up stock should the species ever be threatened again. In January this year, the centre noted great success when 38 eggs were laid in its incubators – a first for Crocworld.

Jackal Buzzard

Last October, the Crocworld team celebrated its first-ever hatching of a jackal buzzard chick on the premises. The thriving chick is now ready to be taken out of the enclosure.

Marabou Storks

After some unsuccessful attempts, the breeding programme noted success with two baby Marabou Storks hatched in 2020 to Samara and Norris. One remained at Crocworld while the other was sent to another KZN conservation centre. The success continued with Samara and Norris welcoming a male chick in 2021. Crocworld is currently negotiating with a zoo in the United States to relocate the chicks for an international breeding programme.

Mute Swans

In 2021, Crocworld welcomed two regal, white, mute swans to the centre – appropriately named Elizabeth and Philip. The pair have flourished, with the first cygnet hatching three months ago and doing very well.

To find out more or to book at Fish Eagle Café, call 083 658 7073 or email mvanzyl@cbl.co.za. For more on Crocworld Conservation Centre visit www.crocworld.co.za or ‘Crocworld Conservation Centre’ on Facebook or call 039 976 1103.