The Biology and Conservation Status of the American Crocodile in Colombia

Sergio A. Balaguera-Reina, Miryam Venegas-Anaya, Llewellyn D. Densmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Along with the Orinoco and Cuban Crocodiles (Crocodylus intermedius and Crocodylus rhombifer), the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is among the most threatened crocodylian species in the Americas. Although this species is distributed widely, its IUCN "threat category" in several countries is "of concern." We review the literature dealing with the biology and conservation status of C. acutus in Colombia and assess its Extent of Occurrence (EoO) and its EoO-Habitat Status. We propose a way to estimate the effective area of optimal habitable occurrence on the basis of the EoO (EoO-Effective Habitable Area). We found that only 37% of the national territories have been sampled in ecological studies during the last decade. The relatively few reports of abundance values and the lack of long-term projects that can produce accurate estimates of population sizes make it difficult to establish the conservation status of this species in Colombia. Our analyses indicate that the EoO-Habitat Status has a higher proportion of disturbed landscapes, as well as agricultural areas, than natural forests and protected areas. We considered that EoO-Effective Habitable Area is a good parameter to estimate the amount of suitable habitat and status of optimal habitat because it does not overestimate the actual areas that crocodiles inhabit. Spatial information gaps, combined with the absence of knowledge about the population ecology and habitat reduction are indeed the principal threats to the American Crocodile in Colombia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-206
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Herpetology
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

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