South East Asia
Our new South East Asia Jungle Track is now open! The most ambitious project in our 100-year …
We’re super excited to share that Sunda gharial crocodile sisters, Malu and Sumpit, have arrived from Krokodille Zoo in Denmark.
As visitors you’ll get to see these spectacular freshwater crocodiles (both over 3m long and more than 100kg!) when we open our new South East Asia Jungle Track’s Indonesian swamp forest habitat at Labour Weekend (Saturday 22 October).
The 12-year-old sisters are currently undertaking their 30-day precautionary quarantine period in their back-of-house pool within the climate controlled tropical dome that is our swamp forest – where the air and water temperature is a beautiful balmy 28-30ºC.
Richard Gibson, our head of animal care and conservation, says both crocodiles seem to have adapted quickly to their new environment and are enjoying all aspects of the facility – including the deep pool and shallow beach area, underwater overhang where they can hide and hauling out to bask in the sun and under the infra-red heaters.
“We’re really delighted with how they’re behaving since arriving last week and can’t wait for visitors to experience them - both underwater and on the banks of the stunning new river habitat we’ve created. It’s unlike any other crocodile habitat in a zoo anywhere else in the world,” says Richard.
Sunda gharial are an increasingly endangered crocodilian species and despite being one of the world’s largest crocodiles are one of the most poorly studied owing to their reclusive nature and inaccessible preferred habitat resulting. Once widespread in Southeast Asia their remaining strongholds are now Sumatra and Borneo.
Shy and secretive, they are renowned for their distinctive snout – characteristics that the Zoo team were inspired by when naming them. “Malu means shy in Indonesian, and Sumpit is Indonesian for chopsticks, and as you can see their long slender snouts are more than a little reminiscent of chopsticks – so much so that one of their indigenous names is buaya (crocodile) sumpit, or chopstick crocodile!” explains Richard.
As our swamp forest habitat gets closer to opening, we look forward to bringing you more updates!