Two baby Philippine crocodiles (Crocodylus mindorensis), considered to be critically endangered, were released into the wild. One of them was Li-Bertie, a two-year old, head-started male croc that was reared at the station of the Mabuwaya Foundation in Isabela.

pame berthold release libertie crocMr. Berthold SchirmLi-Bertie was released into the wetlands of San Mariano, Isabela Province as part of the efforts of Mabuwaya Foundation and GIZ-funded Protected Area Management Enhancement (PAME) Project to prevent the species from going extinct. There are currently more than 100 crocodiles remaining in the wild of Northern Luzon, Philippines.

Threatened by exploitation, unsustainable fishing methods, and habitat loss, Philippine crocodiles are now among the world’s most endangered crocodile species, with only an estimated 250 of them left in the wilds of Southwestern Mindanao and Northern Luzon.

Mr. Berthold Schirm, GIZ PAME Project Director, joined the team of Mabuwaya Foundation in releasing the two little crocodiles. “Releasing Li-Bertie has been a very special lifetime experience for me because I know that he is one of the few individuals left on this planet. May Li-Bertie live a long, free life!”, he said.

PAME Project is working with Mabuwaya Foundation in sustaining and improving the management and protection of locally declared Philippine crocodile sanctuaries in San Mariano. PAME supports various activities geared toward improving the protection of this critically endangered species and strengthening the long-term wetlands management plan of the municipality of San Mariano. Two new crocodile sanctuaries in Anao Lake and Diwagden Creek have also been established out of this partnership.

“I am extremely pleased with the success of this collaborative project. The active involvement of the local communities in their long-term wetlands management plan, as evidenced by their support today is an important step in contributing to the conservation of these magnificent animal in the wild,” Mr. Schirm added.

Li-Bertie will eventually grow to an average length of 10 feet, but for now he measures only about 30 inches. (PAME/ Opalyn Agulay)

 

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