Rare Chinese alligators sent to China
Wildlife Conservation Society
May 17, 2006


BALANCING THE U.S.-CHINA TRADE DEFICIT — WITH ALLIGATORS
A dozen rare Chinese alligators, born and raised in the U.S., are shipped to China

The U.S. made a slight dent in the trade deficit today when a dozen rare Chinese Alligators were shipped from the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) headquarters at the Bronx Zoo directly to China, as part of an international effort to restore populations of these highly endangered reptiles.
The alligators, donated by the Bronx Zoo, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and St. Augustine Farm Zoological Park, were shipped through JFK airport in New York where they will touch down in Shanghai. A team of WCS veterinarians oversaw the shipment to ensure that the animals were healthy and remained comfortable for the long trip. Once the alligators reach China, they will be moved to a holding facility and eventually released in a wetlands reserve near the mouth of the Yangtze River.

"We are delighted that the Chinese Government will receive these 12 alligators in an effort to help bolster numbers of the critically endangered species" said WCS conservationist Dr. John Thorbjarnarson, who is helping oversee the program. "Given the chance, these animals will grow in number and roam in areas where they haven't been seen in many years."

The Chinese alligator is just one of two alligator species in the world. Unlike the American alligator, which has increased in numbers due to conservation efforts, Chinese alligators have been virtually eliminated from their native habitat in China due to conversion of wetlands for agriculture over the past several thousand years. Perhaps a few dozen remain in the wild.


Chinese Alligator. Julie Maher/WCS
In 2003, WCS assisted in the first ever reintroduction of captive reared alligators back into the wild in China's Anhui Province- with students from East China Normal University conducting a year-long radio-telemetry monitoring program. The effort was successful with all three animals surviving and at least one of the two females nesting in 2004 and 2005.

Chinese alligators are relatively secretive animals, feeding on small fish and aquatic birds. They are not known to attack people.

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This is a modified news release from the Wildlife Conservation Society.









CITATION:
Wildlife Conservation Society (May 17, 2006).

Rare Chinese alligators sent to China.

http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0517-wcs.html