Next time you visit the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, keep a keen lookout for its newest additions to the family.
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Last week 60 one-year-old Nile crocodiles were released into the Nkazama Stream in the park, becoming part of the already thousand-strong family of adult crocodiles that make their home in the Lake St Lucia estuarine system.
The little ones are the offspring of those crocodiles living in captivity at the St Lucia Crocodile Education Centre, originally started as a centre for the study of crocodiles but now also hosts educational tours for kids and tourists.
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What you should know about Nile crocodiles
While their species' survival might not be of the biggest concern to the IUCN, they do make it to South Africa's list of threatened or protected species. Their biggest threats are habitat removal, illegal killings, destruction of nesting sites and human disturbance.
iSimangaliso has one of the largest populations of the scaly critters in Southern Africa - the apex predators in the wetland - but unfortunately not all the 60 babies are expected to make it to adulthood. But if they do make it, they could become as long as 5m, weigh over 500kg and live up to a hundred years!
One of the studies conducted involved a tagged crocodile that was very determined to return to where it came from. Taken from Lake St Lucia, it was released in the False Bay section and made it back home after a couple of weeks.
If you want to learn more about these cool critters, you should definitely make a stop at the St Lucia Crocodile Education Centre when passing through the area.
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(Photo: iSimangaliso Wetland Park)
Other new things to see in the park include the rebuilt Kwasheleni Tower with its 360 views of the Eastern Shores, an upgrade to include craft markets at the St Lucia Estuary precinct, a new wooden jetty on the western side of the Lake St Lucia, the rebuilt kuMalibala Hide and guided Fig Forest Aerial Boardwalk, both in uMkhuze.
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