AGADIR, Morocco – Nile crocodiles have made a return to a first-of-its-kind park in Morocco, a century after they disappeared from the North African country.
The Crocodile Park, located 12 kilometers (almost 8 miles) southeast of the resort Moroccan city of Agadir, extends to over four hectares and houses other reptile species such as giant tortoises, iguanas and snakes.
The park’s creator and designer, Luc Fougeirol, told EFE the site was one of the largest in North Africa, founded with the help of his family and other partners from Morocco.
Crocoparc, which has the façade of a citadel, has three small artificial lagoons and several botanical gardens, as well as restaurants and leisure spaces for children.
Some 150,000 people visit Crocoparc annually to see crocodiles that spend most of their days asleep under the sun when they are not swimming or diving.
At sunset, the park’s workers throw dozens of slaughtered chickens to feed the crocodiles, which go crazy at the sight of food.
Although most of these Nile crocodiles were brought from a similar park on the Tunisian island of Djerba, several were born in the Moroccan park.
Crocoparc visitors can also see 20-centimeter-long baby crocodiles through glass cages.
Layla Sudaigui, Crocoparc head of communication, told EFE the Nile crocodiles survive at temperatures between 28-32 degrees and have long lifespans that can exceed 100 years.
The park also houses a dozen African spurred tortoises, which is the third-largest tortoise species in the world after the Aldabra and the Galapagos.
African spurred tortoises can live up to 100 years, while males may weigh around 80 kilograms, according to Fougeirol.
Crocoparc’s green iguanas were imported from El Salvador, where more than 30,000 are bred every year.
Adult male iguanas can grow up to 1.5 meters in length and five kilograms in weight, while the female ones are a bit smaller.
Meanwhile, the Crocodile Park has four main thematic areas separated by flora: the blue garden, the exotic square, the water garden and the tropical area, each populated by different plants.