A crocodile conservation project that has several rare breeds is facing closure due to a lack of space after a flood stressed the reptiles – prompting them to lay a record number of eggs.
The Yalta Crocodilarium Project that also has alligators and caimans has been delighting visitors for 10 years at its base, which is located in the centre of the city of Yalta, in the Crimea, which is in the Ukraine, although it is currently under Russian control after the former Soviet superpower annexed the area in 2014.
The animals at the Yalta Crocodilarium are usually able to live out their days in full, but that freedom is now under threat following the flood on the Crimean peninsula last summer.
The Yalta Crocodilarium was also in the flood zone and the basement was completely flooded, and although there was no danger of the reptiles drowning, they were put under considerable stress.
As a response to the stress, the crocodiles laid more eggs. In the end, the project ended up with 72 eggs, a very large number for a conservation project of this size.
The team currently has no idea how to handle the large number of future offspring as an increase in the number of reptiles automatically means that they need to increase the size of their centre.
The federal law on ‘Responsible Treatment of Animals’, which regulates the new rules for keeping wild animals in captivity, came into force on 1st January this year and has added extra pressure because even for the animals they currently have, it is now stipulating that they need more space.
The Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor), which regulates the legislation, says enclosures for animals should be more spacious. However, there is no such possibility at the Yalta Crocodilarium. They also need specially equipped premises.
They have already stopped letting visitors in because of the overcrowding, and to reduce the stress on the reptiles, but that has meant they have even less income than usual, and soon the facility may be closed completely.
Having learned that the crocodile farm was probably going to be closed down, it is reported that rather than wading in to help, local entrepreneurs have come together and offered to open a brewery on the premises.
The managers of the project, however, have not yet given up hope, and the fate of the crocodile farm is not yet decided.
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Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: Joe Golder, Agency: Newsflash
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