This summer the Indianapolis Zoo welcomes two new species of oversized reptiles: American alligators and Orinoco crocodiles. These two species are on opposite sides of the conservation spectrum and show the impact conservation efforts can have on animals.
American alligators are one of the United States’ greatest conservation success stories. After being listed as an endangered species in 1987, American alligator populations have fully recovered across their native ranges. Even though populations are thriving, habitat loss and conflicts with humans remain a concern.
Native only to the Orinoco River basin in Colombia and Venezuela, Orinoco crocodiles are critically endangered. Historically, these crocodiles have been hunted for their hide, but more recently, the illegal animal trade, pollution and human development have become growing threats.
Both alligators and crocodiles serve as apex predators in their habitats. This means that they are at the top of the food chain and keep the populations of their prey species from growing out of control. Without this crucial ecological function, ecosystems can become out of balance and eventually not be suitable for any life.
Like all our animals, the alligators and crocodiles at the Indianapolis Zoo are ambassadors for their counterparts in the wild. Through the Animal Amigo program, you support the care of these reptiles at the Zoo and support the Indianapolis Zoo’s Orinoco crocodile conservation efforts in Venezuela.
For a donation of $50 or more, you’ll receive an Animal Amigo package, which includes one alligator or crocodile plush, photo, certificate, trading card and recognition on the Animal Amigo donor board.*
*Animal Amigo donor board is located inside the Oceans building and updated each March with the previous year’s donors.
Animal Amigo donations make great gifts! You can purchase one as an individual or as a group. However, please note that only one of each item will be enclosed per Animal Amigos packet.