PASIR GUDANG: While many scientists believe that an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs some 65 millions years ago, crocodiles continue to thrive on earth.
However, their existence in the wild is coming under threat today due to global warming.
Crocodile expert Dana Raj Shanmugam, 28, said the increase in temperatures has caused a devastating effect on the saltwater crocodiles’ fertility rate.
Statistically, only one out of 100 infant saltwater crocodile survives beyond the first year after hatching from its egg.
“Although adults crocodiles are able to thermoregulate or to crawl to places with the desired temperature, the same could not be said for their young,” he said yesterday.
Dana Raj, who works as an assistant manager at the Estuarine Crocodile Sanctuary near Tanjung Langsat Port here, said the extreme and irregular temperatures also affect crocodile eggs.
“These cold-blooded reptiles mate in accordance to the temperature and when it changes so drastically, it affects the crocodiles.
“There is a likely possibility that we may not get to see an infant crocodile in the wild surviving past the first year in the not so distant future as a result of global warming,” he said.
He pointed out that the Estuarine Crocodile Sanctuary here was built in 2009 with the idea of conserving the reptiles, and is now home to some 127 crocodiles from Sarawak, Pahang and Johor.
Dana Raj said the El Nino phenomenon hitting the world in recent years has impacted the mortality rate of the crocodiles here with a number of them dying due to heat stroke.
“Global warming is a real concern not only for the crocodiles but also the mangrove area surrounding this sanctuary.
“Mangrove areas are among the most vulnerable ecosystems especially with the rising sea levels due to global warming,” he said.
Dana Raj said the sanctuary’s main goal was to save the crocodile from extinction including studying breeding technology for the species.
The sanctuary also promotes educational tourism as visitors learn about crocodiles and the ecosystem.
The Estuarine Crocodile Sanctuary opens daily from 9am to 5pm.
For details, call 07-251 7208 or 07-251 6901 or visit www.sarangbuaya.com.my