Beijing: A group of Chinese families has adopted 20 endangered alligators from a nature reserve in the country's Anhui province.
The Yangtze alligator, also known as the Chinese alligator, is a critically endangered species native only to China. It has lived in the Yangtze river area for over 230 million years, Xinhua reported.
Each of the adopted alligators has an ID chip so that families can identify which belongs to them.
According to Wang Chaolin, deputy director of the Anhui Yangtze Alligator National Nature Reserve Administration, this is the first time they have organised adoptions for Yangtze alligators.
"We propose to let more people know of the critically endangered and extraordinary, precious species through finding 'human adopters' for them," he said.
Adopters are expected to pay 500 yuan ($80) to the administration for feeding and protecting their new charges. These people are provided with adoption certificates and allowed to visit the alligators regularly.
"We have known about the nature reserve for 20 years, but we had no idea how to take care of the endangered creatures by ourselves. We adopted one with my grandson's lucky money," said a 67-year-old woman surnamed Song.
Another adopter, Yu Genfang, said she did it as a birthday gift for her daughter studying in Singapore.
Wang said, as the activity has proven popular, the administration decided to offer more alligators for adoption, the fees going to support their feed in the nature reserve and the recovery of their wild habitat.
Story first published:
April 12, 2012 14:58 IST