DECEMBER 12, 2012

Extremely rare Philippine crocodiles placed in Valley reptile sanctuary

Latest additions to Phoenix Herpetological Society will expand exhibit; sanctuary offering unique holiday-season tours
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mindoro crocodileSCOTTSDALE – Phoenix Herpetological Society (PHS) has just added to its diverse collection of crocodilians with the arrival of two extremely rare Phillippine crocodiles (crocodiles mindorensis), also known as the Mindoro crocodile.

Once found throughout the Philippine Islands, the freshwater crocodiles are critically endangered, putting them on the "Red List" of threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. According to National Geographic, there are only about 250 left in the wild.

PHS is one of a few organizations qualified to properly house the crocodiles, which can grow up to 10 feet in length. The Scottsdale reptile sanctuary obtained the required approval of the Philippine government, as well as the Gladys Porter Zoo in Texas, where the animals came from.

These extremely rare crocodiles will be part of PHS' repopulation breeding program, which is helping to conserve a number of endangered species. The progeny will be placed into facilities as determined by the Philippine government.

Special holiday tour schedule allows public viewing of crocodile and alligator exhibit, as well as hundreds of other reptiles

The new crocs are on display during special holiday-season tours of the facility. The reservation-only tours take place from Monday, Dec. 17, through Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 (closed Sundays). The facility is closed Christmas Day, but open on New Years Day.

Tours will start at 1 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The cost for the 2.5-hour tour is $20 for adults and $15 for kids ages 4 to 17 (children 3 and under are admitted free). There is limited space per tour; call PHS at 480-513-4377 (HERP) and select option 4, or email to make reservations.

The sanctuary features a unique observation deck above its crocodile and alligator exhibit. With controlled access, the deck permits visitors who wish to add an extra experience to their tour the opportunity to observe animals from a truly unique perspective (some restrictions apply).

"This is the crown jewel of our newly expanded crocodilian exhibit," says Debbie Gibson, Vice President of PHS.

Photo courtesy of Wendy Cassidy, Phoenix Herpetological Society