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  • Status Survey and Conservation Action PlanSecond Edition

    CrocodilesEdited by James Perran Ross

    IUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist Group

    IUCNThe World Conservation Union

  • Donors to the SSC Conservation Communications Programmeand the Crocodile Action Plan

    The IUCN/Species Survival Commission is committed to communicate important species conservation informationto natural resource managers, decision-makers and others whose actions affect the conservation of biodiversity.The SSC's Action Plans, Occasional Papers, news magazine (Species), Membership Directory and other publicationsare supported by a wide variety of generous donors including:

    The Sultanate of Oman established the Peter Scott IUCN/SSC Action Plan Fund in 1990. The Fund supports ActionPlan development and implementation; to date, more than 80 grants have been made from the Fund to SpecialistGroups. As a result, the Action Plan Programme has progressed at an accelerated level and the network has grownand matured significantly. The SSC is grateful to the Sultanate of Oman for its confidence in and support for speciesconservation worldwide.

    The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) provides significant in-kind and cash support to the SSC, including grantsfor special projects, editorial and design services, staff secondments and related support services. The mission ofCZS is to help people develop a sustainable and harmonious relationship with nature. The Zoo carries out itsmission by informing and inspiring 2,000,000 annual visitors, serving as a refuge for species threatened withextinction, developing scientific approaches to manage species successfully in zoos and the wild, and working withother zoos, agencies, and protected areas around the world to conserve habitats and wildlife.

    The Council of Agriculture (COA), Taiwan has awarded major grants to the SSC's Wildlife Trade Programme andConservation Communications Programme. This support has enabled SSC to continue its valuable technicaladvisory service to the Parties to CITES as well as to the larger global conservation community. Among otherresponsibilities, the COA is in charge of matters concerning the designation and management of nature reserves,conservation of wildlife and their habitats, conservation of natural landscapes, coordination of law enforcementefforts as well as promotion of conservation education, research and international cooperation.

    The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) provides significant annual operating support to the SSC. WWF'scontribution supports the SSC's minimal infrastructure and helps ensure that the voluntary network andPublications Programme are adequately supported. WWF aims to conserve nature and ecological processes by: (1)preserving genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity; (2) ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources issustainable both now and in the longer term; and (3) promoting actions to reduce pollution and the wastefulexploitation and consumption of resources and energy. WWF is one of the world's largest independent conservationorganizations with a network of National Organizations and Associates around the world and over 5.2 millionregular supporters. WWF continues to be known as World Wildlife Fund in Canada and in the United States ofAmerica.

    The Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions, UK, (DETR) supports a Red List Officer post atthe SSC Centre in Cambridge, UK, where the SSC Trade Programme staff are also located. Together with two otherGovernment-funded agencies, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the DETR is alsofinancing a specialist plants officer. Further support for the centre is being offered by two NGO members of IUCN:the World Wide Fund for Nature - UK, and Conservation International, US.

    Donors to the IUCN/SSC Crocodile Action Plan

    This publication was produced by the Crocodile Specialist Group with assistance of a generous gift from UtaiYoungprapakorn, Samutprakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo.

  • Status Survey and Conservation Action PlanSecond Edition

    CrocodilesEdited by James Perran Ross

    IUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist Group

    Contributors:Eduardo Espinosa (Caiman crocodilus, C. yacare)

    B.E.E.C.S. Laboratory, University of FloridaGainesville, FL 32611, USA

    Robert Godshalk (Paleosuchus palpebrosus. P. trigonatus)Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

    University of FloridaGainesville, FL 32611, USA

    Philip Hall (Crocodylus novaeguineae)Environmental Office, Camp Blanding

    Dept. Military Affairs, FLARNGStarke, FL 32091-9703, USA

    John Thorbjarnarson (Crocodylus intermedius, Melanosuchus niger)Wildlife Conservation Society - NYZS

    185th Street and Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10460, USA

    Anton Tucker (Crocodylus johnsoni)Department of Zoology, University of Queensland

    Brisbane 4072, Australia

    Luciano Verdade (Caiman latirostris)Departo Zootechnica/ESALQ

    Universidad de Sao Paulo, Piracicaba, Brazil

  • Copyright:



    Cover photo:

    Produced by:

    Printed by:

    Available from:

    1998 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

    Reproduction of this publication for educational and other non-commercial purposes is authorised without prior writtenpermission from the copyright holder provided the source is fully acknowledged.

    Reproduction of this publication for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without prior written permission ofthe copyright holder.

    Ross J.P. (ed.). (1998) Crocodiles. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. 2nd Edition. IUCN/SSC Crocodile SpecialistGroup. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. viii + 96 pp.


    Black caiman, Melanosuchus niger, Mamiraua, Brazil, where a substantial population of this depleted species is reportedto be recovering. Photo by J. Thorbjarnarson.

    The Nature Conservation Bureau Ltd, Newbury, UK.

    Information Press, Oxford, UK.

    IUCN Publications Services Unit219c Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, UKTel: +44 1223 277894, Fax +44 1223 277175E-mail: [email protected]: http://www.iucn.orgA catalogue of IUCN publications is also available.

    The text of this book is printed on 115 gsm Grandeur Pure Velvet, which is rated as 5-star under the Eco-Check system and is madefrom 100% sustainable fibre sources using chlorine-free processes.

    The designation of geographical entities in this book, and the presentation of the material, do not imply the expression of any opinionwhatsoever on the part of IUCN concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning thedelimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

    The opinions expressed in this volume do not necessarily reflect those of IUCN.

    Published by: IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, UK and IUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist Group, Gainesville, Florida, USA

  • Contents

    Executive Summary iv

    Foreword v

    Acknowledgements vi

    Objectives and Organization vii

    Introduction 1Crocodilian biology 1Threats to crocodilians 2Conservation strategies for crocodilians 3

    Conservation Priorities 6Priority analysis 8Projects listed in order of priority,

    highest to lowest 8

    Species AccountsAlligator mississippiensis American alligator 10Alligator sinensis Chinese alligator 12Caiman crocodilus Common caiman 14Caiman latirostris Broad-snouted caiman 18Caiman yacare Yacar 21Melanosuchus niger Black caiman 3

    Paleosuchus palpebrosus Dwarf caiman 29Paleosuchus trigonatus Smooth-fronted caiman 31Crocodylus acutus American crocodile 33Crocodylus cataphractus Slender-snouted crocodile ... 36Crocodylus intermedius Orinoco crocodile 38Crocodylus johnsoni Australian freshwater crocodile.. 42Crocodylus mindorensis Philippine crocodile 44Crocodylus moreletii Morelet's crocodile 46Crocodylus niloticus Nile crocodile 48Crocodylus novaeguineae New Guinea crocodile 51Crocodylus palustris Mugger 54Crocodylus porosus Saltwater crocodile 56Crocodylus rhombifer Cuban crocodile 61Crocodylus siamensis Siamese crocodile 64Osteolaemus tetraspis Dwarf crocodile 67Tomistoma schlegelii Tomistoma 69Gavialis gangeticus Gharial 71

    References 74

    Appendix 1. Vernacular and Trade Names forCrocodilians of the World 89

    Appendix 2. IUCN Red List Categories 90


  • Executive Summary

    The revised Action Plan for Crocodiles, provides concisesummaries of the current status and recent information forall 23 species of crocodilian. The Action Plan supersedesthe 1992 Crocodiles: An Action Plan for their Conservation.It reflects the ongoing activities of the Crocodile SpecialistGroup (CSG) membership, provides some guidance anddescribes priorities for immediate actions that addressthe most pressing current problems in crocodilianconservation.

    An introductory section provides general informationon crocodilian biology and outlines some general principlesthat are being applied to their conservation. The ecologicaland economical importance of crocodilians in their wetlandhabitats is noted. Conservation of wild crocodilianpopulations has numerous spin-off benefits for otherspecies and local human communities. The application ofsustainable use to crocodilian conservation is explained,and descriptions of national programs that demonstrateboth the application and the effectiveness of these methodsare included. The examples of the American alligator inthe USA, the Nile crocodile in Zimbabwe and SouthAfrica, and the Saltwater crocodile in Australia and PapuaNew Guinea are particularly compelling.

    This revised Action Plan provides the first applicationof the new 1994 IUCN Red List Categories to crocodilianstatus assessment. In general, the assessments made usingthe 1994