Our head-start facility in San Mariano is not only a rearing station, it is also an environmental information centre, and sometimes a training centre. In this case there were 4 students of Veterinary Medicine of the nearby Isabela State University in Echague, who did a one-week internship with us.
The first day was for looking around the facility and the ponds, and talking, to the information officer and resident student, to get to know the facility and the head-start program.
The students were lucky; Dutch student Jordy Groffen, who is doing his thesis for his MSc in animal science, was also at the rearing station, and he could use a hand. For his study on crocodile natural antibodies, he collects saliva samples from the crocodiles, all 33 of them! The whole wednesday everyone was busy with measurements and taking of samples.
On thursday there was a small fieldtrip; we had to catch two adult crocodiles who are on exhbiton at the Fuyot Springs national park in Ilagan, also to collect saliva samples, to check on their health and to measure their growth.
The two final days were used to puzzle together a skeleton of a juvenile crocodile that died earlier that year. This was a head-started juvenile that left the crocodile sanctuary of Disulap and unfortunately swam into a fish trap, where it drowned. We had previously buried this crocodile near the rearing station, and now the task was for the interns to put it back as an exhibit. The result (still as a work in progress) can be seen below!
Puzzling together a crocodile skeleton is not easy, and a very fiddly job