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  The carcass of a Siamese crocodile, a critically endangered freshwater crocodile species, found in Phu Yen Province September 29

Vietnamese conservation experts suspect that a critically endangered Siamese crocodile, which was found dead in a hydropower dam in the south central province of Phu Yen last week, may have been the last one of its kind in Vietnam.

On September 29, Le Dinh Hung, a fisherman in Ea Lam Commune, Song Hinh District, saw a crocodile on the Ba Ha River hydropower dam and found it was dead when he approached it.

He took it to the office of the Song Hinh District People's Committee.

Vu Ngoc Long, director of the Southern Institute of Ecology, identified the crocodile, 3.2 meters long and weighing 150 kg, as a Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) - a freshwater species native to Indonesia, Brunei, East Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam.

It is listed as "critically endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and extinct in many places.

Experts said the crocodile had died 3-4 days ago and was around 100 years old.

According to residents living near the marshland in Ea Lam, Siamese crocodiles were frequently seen in the area in the seventies, and the sightings became rarer as the years passed.

Long told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that Siamese crocodile was declared extinct in Ea Lam by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in 2011.

In 2005, Long rushed to the commune after hearing rumors from local residents that they had spotted the crocodiles on the marshland.

Between 2006 and 2009, he and international experts made several tours in the area but they were only about to see some footprints and dung samples of the crocodile.

A team of 10 locals was established to track the reptiles, but they remained out of sight.

Long and his partners had to end their search for the Siamese crocodile when the Ba Ha River hydropower dam started operations in 2010.

He suspected the crocodile found in the Ba Ha Dam may have been killed by poachers.

A steel wire was found tightened around its neck.

"It may have been be the last Siamese crocodile in Vietnam," Long said.

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