Crocodile Rehabilitation Observance & Conservation (CROC)
The Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) is a critically endangered endemic freshwater crocodile restricted to the Philippines . The IUCN crocodile specialist group regards this species as the most severely threatened crocodile species in the world. A previously unknown population was discovered in 1999 in the foothills of the Northern Sierra Madre. This wild population is now seen as the most viable for in site conservation of this species.
The Crocodile Rehabilitation, Observance and Conservation (CROC) project is a research, education and conservation project aimed at conserving the critically endangered Philippine crocodile in its natural habitat.
The CROC project is funded by the BP Conservation Program (US$ 75,000) and the Small Wetlands Program of the Netherlands Committee of IUCN (US$ 50,000).
CROC is spearheading the Philippine crocodile conservation strategy in northeast Luzon . It works in close collaboration with the Protected Area Wildlife Service (PAWS) of the DENR, the local government unit (LGU) of San Mariano, and local communities to protect remaining crocodile population.
In 2003, a local foundation was established to assure the continuity of Philippine crocodile conservation activities in Northeast Luzon : the Mabuwaya Foundation Inc. Students of ISU carry out all CROC activities. Six graduate students of ISU are currently employed by the project. In addition, several Bs. students of CFEM and the College of Development Communication, Arts and Sciences (CDCAS) are doing research and producing Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) materials. CROC closely works together with other civil society groups on biodiversity conservation and rural development in the Sierra Madre.
The CROC project has four components:
In 2005, CROC
started a telemetry study: three crocodiles were captured and released with a radio transmitter attached to it. An intensive cooperation with CDCAS
in the CEPA
campaign resulted in radio plugs, posters, newsletters, mural paintings and a puppet show.
project is now developing a more comprehensive wetland ecosystem approach where barangay officials are trained in protecting key wetlands on which local communities depend.