By Azman Zakaria
JOHOR BAHRU, Sept 27: Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) made history as the first university in the country to have succeeded in carrying out a research on developing a reproductive technology for saltwater crocodiles.
The study at the Sarang Buaya Crocodile Sanctuary in Pasir Gudang, Tanjung Langsat, was aimed at developing a breeding technology such as artificial insemination for the reptiles.
The study which commenced in April last year involved four male saltwater crocodiles. The efforts saw the births of two saltwater crocodiles, increasing the population of crocodiles there to 110 from 108.
Inevitably, this has given hopes to ongoing efforts to preserve the species from the threat of extinction.
Head of research, Prof Dr Abd Wahid Haron said the success served as a catalyst of reference for researchers all over the world in matters pertaining to the breeding of saltwater crocodiles.
"This initiative to develop a reproductive technology for saltwater crocodiles is more on collecting and studying the quality of the semen, the first to have been done in this country,” he said.
The study was carried out with the cooperation of Sarang Buaya Crocodile Sanctuary in Pasir Gudang, Pasir Gudang Municipal Council (MPPG) and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan).
Other researchers involved in the study were Dr. Wan Nor Fitri Wan Jaafar, Dr Tengku Rinalfi Putra Tengku Azizan, Yap Keng Chee and Azha Sardi from UPM’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and student Mohd Qayyum Ab Latif.
Abdul Malek Ab Aziz and Dana Raj Shanmugam from the MPPG Sarang Buaya Unit; Dr Donny Yawah and Dr Zubaidah Kamarudin from Perhilitan.
Prof Dr Abd Wahid who is also a lecturer at the Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies of the Veterinary Medicine Faculty, said support and collaboration from all quarters involved had enabled collecting of semen to be made easier and in an orderly manner.
He also said semen obtained from male crocodiles will be preserved for a long time.
“Through this method, breeding of crocodiles, especially violent crocodiles, could be done through artificial insemination in test tubes other than the normal way,” he said.
He said he was grateful that they could carry out the study which could assist MPPG to boost its research-based eco-tourism sector, pharmaceuticals as well as education.
He attended the ceremony in recognition of research collaborations and signing of research on saltwater crocodiles between MPPG and UPM Veterinary Medicine Faculty. Also present was MPPG Yang Dipertua, Md Za'nal Misran.– UPM
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