Chongqing- When you think of crocodiles and alligators, the most common locations people might associate with them are the Everglades of Florida, the fearsome saltwater crocodiles in the Australian Outback, or treacherous stretches of the Zambezi region in Central Africa.
Residents and tourists in Chongqing might then be surprised to hear there is a specialized research and breeding facility for these amphibious creatures right in the middle of the Yubei District!
The Chongqing Crocodile Center is the only research and breeding center for endangered animals in the municipality and one of only two nationwide. The park is open to the public daily and serves as an education base for popular science aimed at young students.
Built around the end of the 1990s, not long after Chongqing broke away from Sichuan to become a new municipality, it’s difficult to imagine how the land where the Chongqing Crocodile Center is located was undeveloped countryside.
This first project, constructed as a modern agriculture development park in Chongqing Municipality, took around a year to complete. Workers struggled to overcome the difficulties presented by the ‘Three Obstacles,’ which were access to water, electricity, and roads.
Nowadays, a quiet corner is tucked away by the glass tanks used to home young Chinese alligators. Visitors can see a diesel generator and compactor that helped provide electrical power and dig a water well.
The park assumed a leading role in the newly established Modern Agriculture Development Zone and began attracting foreign investors.
The park features serene winding paths under a canopy of green trees adorned with flowers and birdlife. The four rare treasures inside the park feature a century-old alligator, a 90-year-old giant salamander that’s five feet long, huge pythons weighing 50 kilograms, and a giant Asian crocodile that measures around half a ton in weight!
Chinese alligators used to be very common in the Yangtze middle and lower reaches, but human factors such as runoff from agriculture and hunting mean they are now an endangered species. The Chongqing Crocodile Center is now one of two research and breeding facilities nationwide and has played an important role in ensuring survival for now rare species.
Located in Yubei District by the Airport Road, the Chongqing Crocodile Center covers more than 33,000 square meters. It features a wide variety of pavillions home to amphibians and reptiles, giant crocodiles, apes and monkeys, avian life, pythons, red pandas, and raccoons.
During the height of summer, iChongqing reporter James Alexander takes you on a walk inside this unique park attraction and shows you a side of Chongqing that most visitors would not expect.
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