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Last Updated: Saturday June 09 2007 14:03 GMT

Alligators overcrowd animal home

Chinese alligators

An animal research centre that took in Chinese alligators to protect them from extinction nine years ago, is now so overcrowded its struggling to cope.

The centre, in eastern China, wanted to boost alligator numbers but it's been so successful it's now got over 10,000.

It said it was trying to release some of the animals into the wild but they often struggled to survive alone.

The Chinese alligator is still one of the world's most endangered species, with just 200 living in the wild.

Chinese alligators used to live in the Yangtze river, but development, hunting and pollution all contributed to their rapid decline.

Alligator quiz

The centre released just six alligators last year and only six more are expected to be released in 2007.

It said it was now considering alternatives, such as selling them to zoos around the world, to give the alligators a happier future.

Chinese alligators are smaller than the alligators found in America and they're not known to attack humans.

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