Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo Home to Critically Endangered Crocodilian

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A critically endangered Philippine crocodiles lies in the Florida sun.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo Home to Critically Endangered Crocodilian

Nov 23, 2011

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov 21, 2011) – A critically endangered Philippine crocodile, the most endangered crocodilian in the world, arrived this fall at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and has settled into her marsh habitat near the Gator Falls flume ride.

Found only in the Philippine Islands, environmental officials estimate there are fewer than 100 adult reptiles remaining. The species is listed as “critically endangered” and is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Crocodilian Advisory Group (CAG), designed to enhance and promote the preservation and understanding of the world’s crocodilians and their habitats.

Compared to most other species, the Philippine crocodile is considered small with a broad snout. A male can grow up to 10 feet long and its back is protected by armored plates made of dermal bone. This rare reptile prefers freshwater areas and warms its body by lying in the sun. It can float just at the surface of the water, and can adjust its buoyancy by ingesting stones. It opens its mouth – which contains 66-68 teeth – to release heat if it becomes too hot.

In support of the species and its habitat in the Philippines, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo answered a call for aid from the Mabuwaya Foundation, an organization that has worked for more than a decade in the Philippines to protect the last viable wild populations of the critically endangered crocodile and its wetlands habitat. When Typhoon Juan hit in October 2010, Mabuwaya mobilized several world wildlife organizations to provide assistance to communities with catastrophic damage. Financial support from our Zoo and several others provided logistical and field support for emergency relief and repairing infrastructure in several villages.

About Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and has been named the No. 1 zoo in America by both Parents magazine (2009) and Child magazine (2004). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with extended hours on select nights during special events. Zoo daytime admission prices are: adult - $23.95, seniors (60+) - $21.95, children ages 3-11 - $18.95, and children 2 and under are free. Daytime admission is value-priced to include unlimited amusement rides. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.LowryParkZoo.com or call 813-935-8552.

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