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China: Around The Nation

Thousands of Chinese alligators moved to warm winter home

Reptiles moved from pools at nature reserve in southern China to indoor reptile houses before the cold weather kicks in

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 November, 2017, 3:32pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 November, 2017, 3:32pm

More than 13,000 Chinese alligators are to be moved from outdoor pools to warmer indoor reptile houses at a nature reserve in eastern China over the next 10 days as winter approaches.

The alligators, one of the most endangered species in China, will be moved from 70 pools to winter quarters at the reserve in Xuancheng in Anhui province, the China News Service reported.

Wild alligators normally hibernate or remain dormant in the winter, but the reptiles are taking part in an artificial breeding programme so it is better to keep them indoors during the winter, Wang Shanping, an associate researcher at the reserve was quoted as saying.

It will be a difficult and skilled job for the handlers to move the alligators to their new homes.

They will be hooked out of the water and it takes at least two people to manhandle the animals, ensuring their jaws are firmly held together.

The reptiles will also be cleaned and carefully checked for injuries, the article said.

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China began to raise endangered Chinese alligators in captivity in 1979 and built the world’s largest reserve for the reptiles in Xuancheng, with a population of about 15,000.

Apart from a few hundred that are strong enough to stay outdoors for the winter, most will be moved indoors, said Wang.

Once inside, they will live at temperatures ranging from eight to 10 degrees Celsius.