INDIANAPOLIS — It’s no longer “in a while crocodile” because the Indianapolis Zoo is opening their Alligators & Crocodiles: The Fight to Survive exhibit on May 29.
The Indianapolis Zoo hasn’t had a crocodilian exhibit since 2006, now they have both American alligators and Orinoco crocodiles.
“Ever since I started I said, ‘hey guys, we need crocodiles here,'” said Lewis Single, area manager of deserts. “We had lizards, we had snakes, we had tortoises and turtles, we needed crocs.”
The American alligator is one of the country’s greatest conservation successes. It was considered an endangered species until 1987, now there are millions of alligators in their natural habitats. It’s a hope that one day the Orinoco crocodile can get off the endangered list as well.
“Here at the zoo in the future we plan to breed these animals, so we can potentially send juveniles right back to their native range and help repopulate their dwindling population by directly putting animals into their native range again,” Single said.
Excessive hunting and habitat loss have made the Orinoco crocodile one of the world’s most endangered reptile species said the zoo, with less than 260,000 left in the wild.
“I think a lot of people think of crocodilians as these monsters that are going to jump out of the river and eat a whole zebra in one bite,” said Single. “But, that’s exceptional footage that they filmed for wildlife documentaries most of the time they just kind of chill.”