14,000 Rare Alligators Dumped Back Into National Park

Story By: John FengSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Asia Wire Report


This footage shows a lorry dumping some of 14,000 critically endangered alligators back into a national park in China as they end four months of hibernation indoors.

Chinese alligators (Alligator sinensis) bred in captivity at the Chinese Alligator National Nature Reserve in the city of Xuancheng in East China’s Anhui Province are manually relocated each year to ensure the species’ survival.

The reptiles are native to the Yangtze – Asia’s longest river and the third longest system in the world – and are therefore also known as the Yangtze alligator or ‘muddy dragon’.


Together with the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) living in the Mississippi River in the United States, they are only one of two extant alligator species in the world today.

Since 20th March this year, staff at the Chinese alligator reserve have been slowly moving some of its 14,000 inhabitants back into outdoor ponds and lakes after the animals spent four months in hibernation at the Anhui Chinese Alligator Research and Breeding Center.

Zhang Song, one of the directors at the research facility, said the move takes between seven and 10 days.


Footage shows alligators big and small being tossed back into the waters of the nature reserve after having been transported back to the park and dumped out the back of a lorry.

They will remain there until the autumn, when they will be moved back indoors once more for hibernation

Mr Zhang said: “At the end of March each year, as the weather warms, hibernating alligators slowly wake up.

“We then begin the annual task of relocating alligators from their indoor enclosures to outdoors.

“They only start eating in April, and then they enter mating season mid-May or towards the end of the month.

“They then begin laying eggs towards the end of June.”

According to Mr Zhang, the research facility is housing more than 400 alligator hatchlings which are still too young and fragile to be put in the park.

Chinese alligators are critically endangered, according to the IUCN Red List, with only 120 species remaining in the wild due to habitat loss.

The population of wild specimens has been artificially increased in recent years thanks to the reintroduction of mature males and females.

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