VATICAN CITY, JAN. 11, 2012 ( Among the "guests" at today's general audience was an endangered Cuban crocodile, who "met" the Pope as Rome's Bio Park zoo celebrates its centenary.

The croc, only about two feet long, will be returned to Cuba about the time that the Pope visits the island nation next spring.

The Cuban crocodile population only survives on a small area of the island.

Benedict XVI continues to emphasize the need for respect for for creation.

On Monday, in his speech to diplomats accredited to the Holy See, he said: "I would stress that education, correctly understood, cannot fail to foster respect for creation. [...] Environmental protection and the connection between fighting poverty and fighting climate change are important areas for the promotion of integral human development."


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