What we do
Head-start program
The Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) is the most threatened species of crocodile on the planet. Only a small population survives in the foothills of the Northern Sierra Madre Mountains, and this population wasn’t growing very well, despite protection efforts of the Mabuwaya Foundation. Crocodiles in general lay many eggs, of which only few will ever become adult crocodiles. However in San Mariano, the survival rate of hatchlings was particularly small. Probably the crocodiles used to nest near small lakes or marshes. However most of these have been converted into rice fields or other agricultural purposes. The result is that crocodiles now make their nests next to fast plowing rivers. When the hatchlings come from the eggs and go into the water, most are flushed away immediately and are never seen again. The ones that do survive still have predators to contend with; monitor lizards, pythons, rats and herons can eat a small hatchling.
Therefore the Mabuwaya Foundation initiated a head-start program. We collect the hatchlings and keep them safe until they are strong enough to survive currents and to evade predators. The Philippine crocodile population has been growing a lot since the start of the program.

The Municipal Philippine Crocodile Rearing Station

However we do more than just collect the hatchlings. The head-start program has the following components;

- Nest searching and research
- Nest protection and hatchling collection
- Rearing in captivity of hatchlings to juveniles
- Habitat enhancement and pond creation
- Release of juvenile crocodiles back into the wild
- Post-release monitoring activities

All this makes it possible for the crocodiles to survive in the wild, and to safeguard their existence. However it is also very costly. If you want to help, adopt a crocodile and a school kid in the the Crocodiles in the River and Our Children at School (CROCS) program.

Visit the Municipal Philippine Crocodile Rearing Station (MPCRS) in barangay Minanga, San Mariano. Just outside of the city centre along the national highway. No entrance fee!

Location of the Municipal Philippine Crocodile Rearing Station (MPCRS) in barangay Minanga, municipality of San Mariano, Isabela province

The head-start program is sponsored by:
Hong Kong Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Phoenix Zoo, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Akvariet Bergen, London Zoo, Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, Kölner Zoo, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Zoos Victoria, US Fish and Wildlife Service,Oregon Zoo, St. Augustine Alligator FarmChester Zoo, Pitsburgh Zoo, Krokodille Zoo, Gladys Porter Zoo,the People's Trust for Endangered SpeciesOregon Zoo, Zoo Zurich,

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Philippine crocodile hatchlings are kept communally in an aquarium for the first months


Visitors can take a picture with a juvenile crocodile and learn more about this critically endangered species and their habitat


Juvenile crocodile in the soft release pond outside the rearing station


School kids measuring a crocodile under the CROCS program