In the 1970s, cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov was given a couple of crocodiles by Fidel Castro. The pair (named Castro and Hillary) spent time in Moscow before ending up at Stockholm’s Skansen Zoo. This week, ten young descendants of the original crocs returned to Cuba, where they’ll be released back into the wild.
As ABC News reports, there’s hope that the protected species, which is native to Cuba, will reproduce and repopulate:
Hiram Fernandez, a veterinarian at the [Cuba’s National 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.
AP photo by Desmond Boylan