IUCN Species of the Day: Chinese Alligator


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Dr. Jerry Gingerich


The Chinese Alligator, Alligator sinensis, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. One of the smallest and most endangered of the crocodilians, it is restricted to the lower Yangtze valley in the Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces in China.

Habitat destruction has been the major cause of the Chinese Alligator’s decline, and wetland areas continue to be modified for agriculture in an effort to cope with intense human population pressures. There are now estimated to be less than 150 Chinese Alligators remaining in the wild, all of which occur in highly fragmented subpopulations, each comprising no more than 10 individuals.

In contrast to the decimated wild population, the breeding of captive Chinese Alligators has been very successful and the captive population currently exceeds 10,000 individuals. Chinese authorities have now begun experimental restocking of wild habitats with captive-bred alligators, and are investigating new sites for further reintroductions. The success of the restocking program is likely to be critical to the long-term survival of the Chinese Alligator.


Geographic Range of the Chinese AlligatorCredit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™


To learn more about the Chinese Alligator, click here.  Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.


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3 Replies to “IUCN Species of the Day: Chinese Alligator”

  1. betty murphy

    would be interested to know how (if at all) these “gators differ from others around the world…possible to bring over populations from elsewhere to help restock?? Not a good Idea????

    • Sarah Pappin

      Hi Betty,

      Just wanted to say right quick that it is absolutely never a good idea to take a non-native species to a foreign location. Doing this often causes and explosion of invasive species, which can be beyond detrimental to an ecosystem. Some examples of invasive species are Cane Toads in Australia (they outcompete native frog species and send them into decline), bullfrogs in the western US (have caused a tremendous decline in native frog species as well as the endangered Western Pond Turtle, as they eat the babies), Burmese Pythons in FL (having major effects on the Everglades ecosystem), and many others. However, with all that said, there are some 10,000 Chinese Alligators in captivity and I believe there are groups working on a plan to develop a successful means of releasing some of them back into their natural habitat. If current trends in habitat loss do not reverse themselves though, even released Chinese Alligators will not succeed. They must address the problems causing the declines in order for a re-introduction to be successful. Hope this helps explain?


      • betty murphy

        Hi sarah..THAT is exactly why I asked the question…because I know what happened in marine environments where fisheries are involved.. and then we just keep on destroying habitat ALLLL OVER THE PLANET….shame shame on us!!!!!!
        thanks as always!!!!

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