NEWPORT, Ky. — Everyone loves baby animals and now Tri-State residents can enjoy some more because the Newport Aquarium is welcoming baby crocodiles to its latest exhibit.
Some of the rarest and most endangered reptiles in the world, Orinoco crocodiles will be making Newport Aquarium's Gator Alley their new home Friday.
The three baby crocodiles will be the stars of a brand-new Orinoco crocodile exhibit aiming to both educate the public and act as a first-hand effort to save the species. The exhibit kicks its grand opening weekend off Friday, May 13.
Orinoco crocodiles — which currently have as few as 1,500 left in the wild — have been hunted to near extinction over the last century, the aquarium said in a release. Their skin has been used to make boots, purses and other items.
"They may be little now, but these three babies have the potential to make an enormous impact on the world and their entire species," said Erin Muldoon, Newport Aquarium biologist.
The addition of the crocodiles is part of a partnership between the aquarium and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The crocodiles will be raised for by the aquarium for roughly two and half years — allowing visitors to watch the babies grow and develop.
After the crocodiles have grown more than three feet long, they will be transported back to Venezuela to help repopulate the dwindling species.
"We're honored to be a part of an effort like this where caring for these little guys can have a direct impact on preventing extinction," Muldoon said.
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