On Tuesday August 2nd 2011 a group of 3 Chinese crocodile lizards (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) flew from the Netherlands to Finland as part of the studbook breeding program coordinated by the European Studbook Foundation.
The Chinese crocodile lizard is a very extraordinary lizard. Taxonomically the species has no close relatives and very little is known about their natural behavior. Captive breeding is important to learn about the ecology of the species and to form an insurance colony for the small and declining wild population. it is estimated that in the wild less than 950 specimens remain.
The 3 animals now at Helsinki Zoo were born in the private collections of the studbook keepers Michael Zollweg (Germany) and Siebren Kuperus (the Netherlands). Being unrelated the hope is that once adult these animals in turn will contribute to the breeding program. Cooperation between zoos and private keepers within the ESF studbooks is becoming more and more important for the future of many rare and threatened species of reptiles and amphibians.