Alligators get a taste of life in the wild

Xinhua
Ten captive-bred Chinese alligators are being trained for release into the wild at a nature reserve in east China’s Zhejiang Province.
Xinhua

Ten captive-bred Chinese alligators are being trained for release into the wild at a nature reserve in east China’s Zhejiang Province.

The alligators, three males and seven females, were selected as having the best genes and being in the best physical condition.

They have all been implanted with a chip to track their location.

Chinese alligators, also known as Yangtze alligators, were listed as a national first-class protected species in 1972. They live along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The species has been threatened by human activity and shrinking habitat.

In 1988, a nature reserve was established in Zhejiang’s Changxing County, a major habitat for the alligators, to protect the animal. In 2002 and 2006, the Chinese Academy of Forestry invested 60 million yuan (US$9 million) to enrich the gene pool and carry out wilderness training.

Currently, there are more than 6,000 alligators in the reserve, and over 600 have been trained in a semi-wild zone since the program began in 2012.

The released alligators have adapted well and began to reproduce in 2014.

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