American Crocodile Conservation in Mexico

| April 11, 2014

The DWA is participating in a new conservation project that involves three species of Crocodylia in Mexico: Chiapas’ caiman (Caiman crocodilus chiapasius), Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) and the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus). During February, Luis Sigler, Conservation Biologist at the DWA, attended a workshop in Chiapas, presenting information about the dynamics, recent research, recovery and implications for the American crocodile, as it relates to the human communities at La Encrucijada Biosphere Reserve. In the late 1990s, Luis initiated population surveys and management of wild nests to increase the numbers of this endangered crocodile. Fifteen years later, Luis returned and participated in a population survey to assure the population has recovered to a point it can be managed in a sustainable way to avoid the increasing crocodile interaction to humans and domestic animals. While there, he visited a 12-acre lagoon in the reserve and according to Luis, “the lagoon in the reserve has plenty of crocodiles; in fact, it has the highest population density ever recorded for Chiapas State: 11.33 crocodiles/acre or 116 crocodiles/km.” These interesting results will be presented by Luis and his Mexican colleagues at the Crocodile Specialist Group Meeting, of which the DWA is a sponsor, at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA, May 26-30, 2014.

It is common knowledge that the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is found in the U.S. — Florida, Texas, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. The American crocodile being studied in this conservation project is also found in the U.S., with its northern range extending into south Florida, the only place in the U.S. where two species of crocodilians coexist.

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