May 12, 2022
Newport, KY - Newport Aquarium is now home to some of the rarest and most endangered reptiles in the world, as they welcome three new baby Orinoco crocodiles to Gator Alley. Friday kicks off Opening Weekend for the brand-new Orinoco crocodile exhibit aimed at both public education and a first-hand effort to save these animals in the wild.
The young crocodiles are part of a partnership between Newport Aquarium and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Newport Aquarium Biologists will raise the animals for about two and a half years, giving guests the opportunity to watch them grow and develop. Once they reach a little over three feet long, they will be transported to Venezuela where they will help repopulate the dwindling number of Orinoco crocodiles in the wild.
Orinoco crocodiles are critically endangered after being hunted to near extinction over the last century for their skin to make boots, purses and other items. Once millions of them filled the banks of the great Orinoco River in South America, but scientists estimate there are currently as few as 1,500 left in the wild. Newport Aquarium Biologist Erin Muldoon says programs like this are essential to conservation efforts. “They may be little now, but these three babies have the potential to make an enormous impact on the world and their entire species,” said Muldoon. “We’re honored to be a part of an effort like this where caring for these little guys can have a direct impact on preventing extinction.” Visitors are invited to meet the adorable baby crocodiles and learn how they can also make a difference in ways as simple as never buying things made with crocodile skin.
Visit NewportAquarium.com for more information and to get advance tickets. Capacities are limited. The aquarium offers Plan-Ahead Pricing where tickets are cheaper the sooner they are purchased.