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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK
'Match-making' for rare male croc
False gharial crocodile (Copyright: Fritz Geller-Grimm)
There are an estimated 2,000 false gharials left in south-east Asia
An endangered male crocodile is moving zoos in search of his perfect partner.

Experts hope to spark a reptile romance and produce much-needed offspring by providing Jantan, a false gharial crocodile, with a choice of mates.

Jantan is leaving Melaka Zoo in southern Malaysia and will be set up with four female crocs at a breeding centre in the state of Selangor.

"He has got the right stamina and right aggression so we are very hopeful," his veterinarian Zainal Zahari told AP.

Harmless species

Breeding false gharial crocodiles is difficult as they require a setting similar to their natural swamp and river habitat in the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra, Mr Zahari said.

He said Jantan, who is 4.7m (15.5ft) long and weighs in at 470kg (1,036lb), is the largest false gharial crocodile on the Malaysian peninsular, according to the country's Department of Wildlife and National Parks records.

Jantan, who is thought to be about 25-years-old, was a resident at the Melaka Zoo in southern Malaysia from 1995, before being transferred on Monday to the breeding centre.

The false gharial, or Tomistoma schlegelii species, is harmless and lives on a diet of mainly fish.

There are an estimated 2,000 left in south-east Asia. Females lay about 16 eggs and guard the nest within a radius of 3-4m.

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