Photo: The Pope's crocodile
The “Pope’s crocodile”, shown to Pope Benedict XVI in a general audience hearing held at the Vatican, will be returned to Cuba’s National Zoo, announced officials.
The reptile was donated to Benedict XVI in January, in celebration of Rome’s Bio Park Zoo centenary. The park, which contains 1,200 animals, received the crocodile after it was accidentally stolen from Cuba by an Italian tourist.
The 40 cm long specimen, which belongs to the endangered species “crocodylus rhombifer”, is three years old. Currently, there are only 5,000 specimens found in their natural habitat of La Isla de la Juventud, Cuba.
The crocodile was named the ambassador for environmental protection and is marked as a special gift by the Pope, who is know for his love of nature and the environment.
According to reports, the crocodile will be traveling today and is set to arrive to the island three days before the pope’s visit. Upon arrival, the small animal will be given back to Cuba’s National Zoo by representatives from Rome’s Bio Park Zoo.
After spending some time under veterinary supervision , the rare crocodile will be released back into the wild.