CrocFest 2021- Gatorland Aims to Help Endangered Crocodiles

The Orinoco crocodile is the main endangered crocodile CrocFest is focusing on this year.

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The Orinoco crocodile is the main endangered crocodile CrocFest is focusing on this year.

Jocelyn Chavez, Reporter

Florida, also known as the “Alligator Capital of the World,” will host this year’s CrocFest at Gatorland on Saturday, December 11th.

CrocFest is an annual event that has been around for almost 11 years, and focuses on promoting awareness on endangered crocodiles such as the Chinese alligator, the Siamese crocodile, and other endangered crocodiles around the world. This year’s CrocFest will be aiming to raise money and awareness for the Orinoco crocodile, a critically endangered crocodile species that is only found in bodies of freshwater in Colombia and Venezuela.

“We are so excited to be hosting CrocFest for the very first time and help raise awareness of the critically endangered Orinoco crocodile” said the President and CEO of Gatorland, Mark McHugh.

Orinoco crocodiles became endangered following an extensive amount of hunting for their skin. During the 19th and 20th centuries their eggs and meat were used for food, and some thought their teeth had healing powers. They have closely made it to the brink of extinction several times between the years of 1930 to 1950. Currently there are less than 1,500 of these crocodiles left in the wild.

CrocFest events have raised more than $600,000 dollars over the last 11 years. This year’s funds will provide resources for a head start program to help these crocodiles not be endangered and it will invest in a program that will help track these crocodiles’ long-term viability in their home country.

These programs will help make sure these crocodiles go back to their natural habitat in Venezuela which is still prone to alligator and crocodile hunters. Several zoos in the U.S. will benefit from this program since they raise some endangered crocodiles that they later re-introduce back into the wild.

The event will take place from noon to 8:30, tickets will be $30 for adults, $10 for students ages 5 to 17, and kids under 5 are free. Admission includes dinner and drinks. If you’re free this Saturday try to stop by Gatorland to donate to this cause!