The American crocodile in Portete Bay, Colombia

The American crocodile, Crocodylus acutus, has undergone population declines over much of its distribution due to human persecution, overexploitation and habitat loss. The species remains critically endangered in some countries such as Colombia where the lack of detailed surveys on its ecology and distribution constitutes a major barrier to the development of effective conservation strategies.Espinoza et al. (2012) conducted a three-year capture-recapture study to investigate the demographic status of the American crocodile and to identify environmental variables likely to influence its distribution in Portete Bay (Colombia). They estimated the crocodile population to be relatively small (< 140 animals), to include very few adults, and to demonstrate a very strong deficit in juvenile females . Both mean air temperature and relative humidity were positively correlated with the number of sightings. In contrast, mean water salinity was found to decrease the probability of observing a crocodile, presumably due to juvenile preference for low salinity areas. The results suggest that the Portete Bay American crocodile population is at risk and may require human intervention to assure its persistence.

MARA I. ESPINOSA, M.I,  BERTIN, A.,   GÓMEZ, J.,  MEJÌA, F.,  GUERRA, M., BAEZ, L., GOUIN, N., PATIÑO, E. 2012. A three-year mark-recapture study in a remnant population of
Crocodylus acutus Cuvier in Portete Bay (Guajira, Colombia). Guyana 76:52-58.

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