NEWPORT, Ky. — A new exhibit at Newport Aquarium’s Gator Alley is showing off three rare baby crocodiles.

Aquarium representatives say they are welcoming three new baby Orinoco crocodiles to Gator Alley. These are some of the rarest and most endangered reptiles in the world.

The aquarium representatives say millions of them once filled the banks of Orinoco River in South America. Now, however, scientists estimate there are as few as 1,500 left in the wild. They were hunted to near extinction over the last century for their skin to make boots, purses and other items.

“They may be little now, but these three babies have the potential to make an enormous impact on the world and their entire species,” said Newport Aquarium Biologist Erin Muldoon. “We’re honored to be a part of an effort like this where caring for these little guys can have a direct impact on preventing extinction.”

Visitors to the aquarium will be able to watch the crocodiles grow for about two and a half years. Once they reach a little over three feet long, representatives say they will be transported to Venezuela where they will help repopulate the dwindling number of Orinoco crocodiles in the wild.

The exhibit opens Friday. People can get more information and advanced tickets at NewportAquarium.com.