The Chinese Alligator, a member of China’s alligator family are in great danger of becoming extinct. At present, the Chinese alligator can be considered to be the most endangered creature in the family of crocodiles. The maximum number of Chinese alligators left at present is just 120.
Human beings are responsible for the decrease in the population of Chinese Alligators
The population of Chinese alligators is declining rapidly due to habitat fragmentation to a great extent. Another major cause is contamination of their resources of food due to use of pesticides and fertilizers in agriculture. Unless extreme measures are taken, it will be impossible to conserve these endangered creatures.
The lower parts of the river Yangtze had amazing floodplain marshes, seasonal wetlands, and lakes. These provided sufficient natural habitat to the Chinese alligators. 7000 years from now, human beings’ increasing demands resulted in the conversion of the alligator’s natural habitat to agricultural fields. This was one of the major causes of the decrease in the population of Chinese alligators in the entire area.
By the beginning of the 1990s, the Chinese alligators were found only is a restricted portion of small wetlands in areas along the Yangtze River’s lower course. This decline in their population was still not taken seriously and more wetlands were converted to agricultural fields in the 1970s. The Chinese alligators were forced to live in a small area of the Zhejiang provinces and the southern Anhui.
A survey was conducted in the year 1999 in which it was found that there were only 10-13 Chinese alligator sites left in China where these wild creatures were found. Even the largest groups were found to have just 10-11 Chinese alligators with only one adult female in the group.
The present situation:
The Chinese alligators have become the most endangered species of the crocodilian family. The IUCN Red List ranks it as severely endangered. Among the most endangered creatures in China, Chinese alligator’s name cannot be skipped. In 2001, the Chinese alligator was declared to be one of the 15 rare and most precious wild species in China.
Conservational measures and the outcome
Several conservational activities have been introduced and surveys suggest that the number of Chinese alligators is increasing at a slow pace. Conservationists are yet to discover ways for long-term survival of these endangered creatures. The risks of extinction are more in small groups with less population.
These are some of the latest developments in the conservational activities for protecting the Chinese alligators:
- At Chinese Alligator Merchandise t-shirts, bags, caps and other things can be bought online. Cafepress runs the store and profits are given to the Chinese Alligator Fund.
- A workshop was organized in Guangzhou in 2001for management and conservation of the Chinese Alligators and it has been extremely successful
- The Chinese Alligator Fund was formed in 2000 and the money raised is spent for the betterment of Chinese alligators in the country.
Conservational activities must not cease in order to conserve the Chinese alligator and save them from becoming completely extinct.