MCB succeeds in captive breeding of dwarf caiman

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Chennai, Dec 23: The Madras Crocodile Bank (MCB) has succeeded in captive breeding of endangered 'Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman', one of the smallest species of crocodiles found in South America.

MCB sources said its main objective was to ensure that no reptile goes extinct. After six months of breeding ten eggs were laid, of which six caiman eggs hatched this month. The hatchlings were doing well and were kept under quarantine.

''Three dwarf caimans was brought to the Crocodile Bank six years ago from Denmark. In the middle of this year one of the females laid ten eggs. The eggs were carefully handled and kept for incubation. After an incubation period of about 100 days, six tiny caimans hatched in the first week of December,''the sources said.

The hatchlings were kept in an enclosure to protect them from predators, they said. The dwarf caiman would grow to a maximum size of about 1.2 metres. The young ones at the time of hatching weighed about 25 grams.

It may be noted that the MCB had succeeded in the captive breeding of Kachuga and Gharials.

Caimans were nocturnal and would consume a variety of aquatic invertebrates. The caiman, still threatened by habitat loss, would live in freshwater habitats in South and Central America, including the Amazon basin.

It may be recalled that after a period of three decades, wildlife experts were able to spot two crocodile nests on the banks of Sone river in Madhya Pradesh after the MCB initiated the inter-state crocodile conservation programme last year.

The MCB introduced two male Gharials of Uttar Pradesh into Madhya Pradesh in March last year and as a result 27 eggs were laid and 26 hatchlings had come out in April.


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