Crocodilians and the Threats to Their Survival
Problems: Of the 23 species of crocodilians, 5 are currently listed as Critically Endangered, 2 as Endangered, and 3 as Vulnerable (Crocodilian Advisory Group). This means unless we take action NOW, we could lose several species forever!
Human-Crocodilian Conflict (HCC): The Crocodilian Advisory Group defines HCC as “any interaction, which results in negative effects on human social, economic or cultural life, on conservation of the species or on the environment”. The ever-growing population of humans inhabiting the same waters as crocodilians inevitably leads to this conflict. As with interactions with other people, we must compromise with other animals living with us. We cannot be angry when an alligator winds up in a South Florida swimming pool because it has no where else to go or when a crocodile in Australia eats the same fish, which fishermen also seek. Humans were the creators of this conflict and we need to ensure that neither crocodilians nor people are hurt by this relationship.
Habitat Loss: Loss of prime habitat remains one of the greatest concerns for wildlife globally. When animals have nowhere to live, eat, rest, or reproduce, they disappear. We don’t want any animals to disappear, especially apex predators such as crocodiles.
Poaching: Like many animals, crocodilians are exploited for financial gain. Though most species have strict legislation regarding trade, poachers and dealers still have a significant black market operation for crocodilian products, especially skins. While there is still a demand, there will be poaching and trade of crocodilian species.
Skin Trade: The skin trade of crocodilians and poaching in inextricably linked, with the trade of products being both the financial incentive and backing to keep poaching operations going. One of the most significant actions we can take is to take away the demand. If people were to stop buying wildlife products, poachers would be out of business.
Farming: Although there are many well-know crocodilian specialists who support croc farming from a conservation standpoint, the fact remains that many times these animals are kept in absolutely horror-movie type conditions, being beaten and kept in complete darkness until one day they are killed to make boots, bags, and belts. Yes, crocodile farms keep wild animals from being taken, and yes, farms sometimes release animals into the wild to boost populations. However, we must think, is it worth an animal’s life so that you can have a really expensive purse? The answer is NO! Crocodiles are intelligent, beautiful animals whose true value lies in the wild.
What is being done to help: Captive breeding programs in zoos and aquariums across the world are helping to stabilize populations of crocodilians. Also, surveys by biologists are determining the threat level to individual species. Education to those living around crocodilians is a huge part of conservation success as well, as this replaces fear and hate with respect and love.
What you can do: There are so many things you can do to help crocodilians! Here are a few….
Spread the word: teaching and talking with people to let them know why wildlife is important is one of the best things you can do for conservation. Share this page with friends and family!
Support: Visit Zoos and aquariums whose goal is to promote crocodilian conservation. St. Augustine Alligator Farm (only a farm in name) works towards crocodilian conservation in many ways. Here you can also see every species of crocodilian.
Croc Fest: Croc Fest was an awesome event! It is a party with live crocs, snakes, and lots of fun (all benefits to crocs!!!) I’ll post when I find the next date for Croc Fest 2012.
Say NO to wildlife products: When the demand for wildlife products stops, the killing stops too.