The Crocodile Specialist Group's
Chinese Alligator Fund


Take a moment to read this page and help save
one of the world's truly endangered species.


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Chinese Alligator adultDid you know there are two species of alligator on the planet? We all know about the American alligator, but its distant cousin is the diminutive Chinese alligator, restricted to a small province of eastern China called Anhui. Recent surveys conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society came up with this alarming news: there are probably less than 150 Chinese alligators left in the wild, and they're disappearing fast. Unless things change, the creature which inspired the fabled Chinese dragon is going to disappear from the wild in 15 years or less.

Chinese alligators are protected to the maximum extent of Chinese and international law, they live in a special alligator reserve, and their remaining habitat is protected. So why are they going extinct? Unfortunately, alligators come into conflict with people. Thousands of hectares of former alligator habitat have been converted into agricultural land, essential to feed thousands of people who live there. Alligators only make life more difficult by eating valuable ducks and destroying essential irrigation channals. Most landowners would rather see the alligators disappear, especially as many believe alligators bring devastating floods with their bellowing. Alligators have virtually no habitat left, and local people have no will to conserve them. Their future in the wild is bleak.

Site of the largest protected populationThe only remaining protected habitat consists of 13 "ponds" within the alligator reserve. Only 10 of these contain any alligators, the highest count being 11 like the one at Changle (left). Villagers still use ponds for duck rearing, fish farming and buffalo wallows, and cultivated rice often extends into the shallow water at their edge. The potential for alligators to create a "nuisance" is clear.

But it may not be too late. Already, Chinese researchers have set up a successful breeding program. Several thousand alligators now exist in captivity, which provides hope for future reintroduction programs. But the Chinese need international support to secure and improve existing habitat, and to set up education and ecotourism projects. Local people need to be taught the value of their alligators - a part of their environment, their culture and their heritage.

portrait of adult and juvenile alligatorYou can help to save the Chinese alligator! Whether you can provide a donation, give talks to local societies, or simply tell someone about the plight of these alligators, you will play a small but significant part in their recovery. Help to save a real dragon before it disappears into legend. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE


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