Crocworld Conservation Center Breeding Programs Pay Off

Wildlife conservation is at the heart of all activities undertaken at the Crocworld Conservation Center in Scottburgh. One of Crocworld’s main conservation strategies is ongoing breeding programs that help build the genetic diversity of endangered species.

To date, the team has noted a number of successes in bird and reptile gene pools.

“We are passionate about educating people about our diverse animal species, but alongside our many educational programs, our breeding programs have proven to be incredibly effective,” said Crocworld Conservation Center Director James Wittstock.

As a member of the international organization Species360, they are able to contribute to global conservation projects by gathering and sharing this knowledge gained through the programs. This improves animal welfare and informs species conservation.

Species360 facilitates the collection of information from 1,200 aquariums, zoos, universities, research and government facilities around the world in 99 countries on six continents. Members like Crocworld organize the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), the world’s most comprehensive knowledge database of over 22,000 species, for the global fight against extinction.

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Crocworld Conservation Center Breeding Programs

West African dwarf crocodiles:

Crocworld is now home to a male West African Dwarf Crocodile, the smallest of the five species of African crocodilians. It was brought from a nature reserve in New Germany where it occasionally hunted blue duiker. Plans are in place to introduce him to the resident female later in the year for the breeding season.

American alligator

The American alligator was once endangered due to unregulated hunting, but protective legislation and breeding programs have helped the species recover. The primary threat facing American alligator species today is habitat loss, which is why breeding programs, like Crocworld’s, provide the reserve stock needed should the species ever become again threatened. In January this year, the center recorded a major success when 38 eggs were laid in its incubators – a first for Crocworld.

jackal buzzard

Last October, the Crocworld team celebrated the first ever hatching of a jackal buzzard chick on site. The thriving chick is now ready to be released from the pen.

Marabou storks

After a few failed attempts, the breeding program noted success with two baby Marabou Storks hatched in 2020 in Samara and Norris. One remained at Crocworld while the other was sent to another KZN preservation facility. The success continued with Samara and Norris welcoming a male chick in 2021. Crocworld is currently negotiating with a zoo in the United States to move the chicks for an international breeding program.

mute swans

In 2021, Crocworld welcomed two royal, white, mute swans to the center, aptly named Elizabeth and Philip. The pair have blossomed, with the first cygnet hatching three months ago and doing very well. To learn more about the Crocworld Conservation Centre, visit