HAVANA – Ten young female crocodiles born in Sweden are to be released in their parents' former swampy home in Cuba after being returned to the Caribbean island.
The Skansen Zoo in Stockholm sent the reptiles to Cuba's National Zoo in April to help encourage reproduction of the protected species native to the island.
Hiram Fernandez, a veterinarian at the Cuban zoo, says the reptiles will be released soon in Zapata Swamp, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of the capital. Their ranks have been thinned by hunting and diminishing habitat, with few examples of Crocodylus rhombifer still found in Zapata Swamp and Cuba's Isle of Youth.
Fidel Castro in the 1980s gave the crocodiles' parents, named Castro and Hilly, to Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov, who initially took them to Moscow.