By Casey Fung, edited for online by Raisa Sugandi
Crocodile skin and meat is in growing demand worldwide and scientists want to breed crocodiles to suit the captive environment.
This involves cross-breeding three different wild species of crocodile and monitoring their genetics through generations.
Darwin Crocodile Farm researcher Dr Sally Isberg says it is about creating the best species for farming.
“We put two wild animals together they breed, we put the into a commercial system but then the question why the survive ability is not the best they could be or the grow trade is not the best that it could be. So what we wanna start doing now is almost domesticated the crocodile and breed them through adoption through that commercial environment .”
Dr Isberg says the goal is to make the crocodile breeding industry more financially efficient.
Dr Isberg says the breeding doesn’t aim to improve crocodile conservation but help improve crocodile farming.
The program is based on a ranch model which provides incentives for locals to deliver wild eggs to farms and thereby conserve existing crocodile habitat.
But conservationists are concerned if demand is increased too rapidly the species will be threatened.
Humane Society International campaign director Michael Kennedy says increasing commercial trade puts too much pressure on wild populations.
Mr Kennedy says farming programs often appear conservation friendly but generally prove otherwise.
Although Mr Kennedy says the ranching model is better for the species, he’s still against it.