Posted by : sanne

The Chinese crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) is an extremely rare monotypic lizard species which is found in the Guanxi and Guangdong provinces in the south of China and, as more recent studies indicate, in the Quang Ninh province in the northeast of Vietnam (Le & Ziegler, 2003)

Population estimates indicate numbers in the wild have decreased to approximately 950 specimens. Although the IUCN currently classifies the species as 'vulnerable', recent studies suggest this should altered to the level 'endangered' based on the rapid decline in numbers. (Huang et al. 2008)


Recent births of this species in the collections of Rotterdam Zoo and Siebren Kuperus as well as the 2010 conservation project of the Dutch/Belgian turtle and tortoise society in Vietnam have brought renewed attention to the ESF studbook for this species. The population within (European) zoos is relatively small in comparison to numbers found in private collections. The ESF studbook could therefore play an important role in the future of this delicate species.

Current studbook keeper Harry Woefel has indicated to have too little time to publish his studbook reports, therefore Siebren Kuperus has offered to take his place. The experience and contacts of Mr. Woelfel will of course remain extremely useful and much appreciated.

Further publications will follow. In the mean time keepers of this species are invited to contact Siebren Kuperus on shinisaurus-crocodilurus@studbooks.org.

Huang, C. M., Yu, H., Wu, Z. J., Li, Y. B., Wei, F. W. & Gong, M. H., 2008. Population and conservation strategies for the Chinese crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) in China. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 31.2: 6370.

Le, Q.K. & T. Ziegler, 2003. First record of the Chinese crocodile lizard from outside of China: Report on a population of Shinisaurus crocodilurus from North-eastern Vietnam. Hamadryad, 27: 193-199.