ZSL London Zoo has welcomed the first ever Philippine crocodiles (Crocodylus mindorensis) to be bred in a UK zoo.
Weighing in at at a tiny 37 grams when hatched, the first of the young crocodiles emerged from its egg on the 16 June, followed by its five siblings over a 48-hour period – with zookeepers capturing the incredible process on camera.
One of the world’s rarest reptiles and native to the Philippines, the baby crocodiles have been named after the islands that they inhabit; Jolo, Luzon, Mindoro, Samar, Sulo, and Mindanao.
Classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN due to habitat loss and being hunted for their skins, the six hatchlings are a huge cause for celebration at ZSL London Zoo and the UK, helping to boost the numbers of this rapidly-declining species.
Playing a hugely significant role in the European breeding programme for the species, the parent crocodiles were born at a conservation centre in the Philippines and were matched as the founding animals for the programme which ensures that the most genetically-diverse animals are placed together.
Deputy Head of the Reptile House, Iri Gill, said: “The arrival of these six Philippine crocodiles at ZSL London Zoo is a massive cause for celebration for us, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
“Currently measuring just 24cms long and looking like perfect miniature models of their parents, the yet to be sexed hatchlings will eventually grow up to three metres in length.
“Not only are these crocodiles the first of their kind to ever be bred in a UK zoo, but they are also a fantastic addition to the European breeding programme – and we can now use our experience to help other zoos breed these Critically Endangered animals.”