The Chinese alligator is one of the most endangered species of crocodilians. Once occurring widely throughout the lower Yangtze River system, today its population is severely fragmented and almost extirpated. Along with several other species endemic to the Yangtze River, destruction or alteration of their habitat have been the driving forces behind the Chinese alligator’s critical endangerment, namely through the building of dams and the conversion of marshland to agriculture. Alligators are killed out of fear, for their meat and for their organs that are coveted in Chinese traditional medicine.
The Anhui Research Centre of Chinese Alligator Reproduction was established in 1979 and has been very successful in the captive breeding of A. sinensis, housing about 75 percent of the 20,000 individuals that have been produced in captivity worldwide in 26 protected reserves. As of 2019, 228 Chinese alligators have been released into the wild at the Anhui nature reserve. Nonetheless, as with any species that is perceived as a threat or as a source of profit, public education on the decline of the Chinese alligator is paramount to its survival.