By Chris King •
Updated: 28 Oct 2023 • 22:16
Image of 'Kraken' BIOPARC Fuengirola's new Nile crocodile.
A Nile crocodile weighting some 350 kilos and measuring 3.3 metres in length is the latest new arrival at BIOPARC Fuengirola in Malaga province.
Kraken joins two female residents of the Costa del Sol attraction. Úrsula and Lucifer apparently earned their names due to their character and continuous confrontations.
The arrival of this enormous creature in Fuengirola has reportedly managed to calm the relationship between the females and it is now hoped that the three reptiles can exist together peacefully.
As explained in a statement from BIOPARC Fuengirola, Nile crocodiles are not part of any conservation programme coordinated by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).
However, the species is listed in Appendices I and II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Through this, the trade of these reptiles is regulated, along with their purchase and sale, or use for meat and skins.
Although the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the Nile crocodile as a ‘low risk’ species, the illegal trade of this reptile is still being combated as one of its main threats, along with climate change.
There are many centres outside Egypt that work on the conservation of the Nile crocodile, protecting it from becoming extinct, one of which is this excellent facility in southern Spain.
Climate change, desertification of the areas in which they live and the illegal trade of crocodiles are currently seen as their main threats.
Rosa Martínez, a veterinarian at BIOPARC Fuengirola explained: ‘If the sea level continues to rise, the mouths become salinised, the scarce rains and the increase in average temperatures increase the evaporation of fresh water masses (rivers, lakes that are increasingly less extensive) and the marshy areas become desertified’.
‘To these phenomena, we have to add the uncontrolled exploitation of river ecosystems by humans. The species should have the same years of evolution left as it has on the face of the Earth. It is a prehistoric species. Everything will depend, as always, on how harmful human beings are in their natural habitat’, she stressed.
In ancient Egypt, a large number of animals played important roles in society. Some, like big cats, were turned into exotic pets, becoming emblems of royalty. Others, like hippos, were feared and adored in equal measure and the same thing happened with crocodiles.
These large reptiles were revered for their strength and danger, which positioned them as a great religious and mythological symbol in the form of the god Sobek. This animal, worshiped in the pharaonic empires, continues to be a symbol of the country today.
However, this adoration did not prevent the large populations of crocodiles that lived in the Nile riverbed from disappearing due to uncontrolled hunting in the first half of the 20th century.
With the protection now provided, the implementation through different national legislation in Egypt, and international trade conventions such as the recognized CITES, the recovery of the species is a reality.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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