Borneo's crocodiles 'no longer endangered'

Jun 28, 2010
File photo of a young saltwater crocodile enticed by meat, jumping completely out of the murky waters of the Adelaide River, near Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. Wildlife officials in Malaysian Borneo are pushing to have its saltwater crocodiles removed from a list of endangered animals, saying the reptile's numbers have strongly recovered in recent years.

Wildlife officials in Malaysian Borneo are pushing to have its saltwater crocodiles removed from a list of endangered animals, saying the reptile's numbers have strongly recovered in recent years.

Deputy director of the Sabah Wildlife Department Augustin Tuuga told AFP that a survey of the Crocodylus porosus population showed there were about 11,000 to 15,000 in the state compared to 1,000 to 5,000 two decades ago.

"We are pushing to have the crocodile downgraded from the 'endangered' to the 'not necessarily threatened' list on the Convention of International Trade of Species (CITES)," he said.

Tuuga said there was big demand for legal crocodile leather from handbag and clothing accessory manufacturers as well as for crocodile meat in kitchens throughout Asia.

"Under CITES, these can only come from breeding farms but once the crocodile is downgraded, manufacturers will be able to get the crocodiles from the wild," he added.

"However, before this can happen we must have an effective monitoring mechanism to keep track of the crocodile population to ensure its numbers do not fall below acceptable levels."

Saltwater crocodiles have the most commercially valuable skin of its species and are found from Sri Lanka all the way to the Caroline Islands in the Western Pacific.

Tuuga said the increase in the crocodile population has also seen 38 attacks on humans in the last 10 years with 23 deaths and 15 injuries.

The latest was reported this month when the remains of a man who was eaten while looking for shellfish were found in the south of the state, he said.

However, Tuuga said the increasing population was not the only factor that led to the attacks.

"A lot of the crocodile's habitat has been destroyed by development and much of its food sources have also been depleted so this and the frequent human use of the rivers mean that such attacks will occur," he added.

With some growing up to seven metres (23 feet) in length, the saltwater crocodile has a large head with ridges that run from the eye along the centre of the snout, with bands on its lower flanks and a yellow underside.

Explore further: Global wild tiger population to be counted by 2016

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rare crocs found hiding in plain sight in Cambodia

Nov 18, 2009

(AP) -- Conservationists searching for one of the world's most endangered crocodile species say they have found dozens of the reptiles lounging in plain sight - at a wildlife rescue center in Cambodia.

Mapping the crocodile genome

Jul 28, 2009

The first ever genetic linkage map for a non-avian member of the Class Reptilia has been developed. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Genomics have constructed a first-generation genetic linkage map for th ...

Skin demand threatens Nigeria crocs

May 12, 2009

Business is booming at Ismail Dauda's crocodile tannery in northern Nigeria, but environmentalists fear soaring demand for skins could be driving the reptiles to extinction.

Recommended for you

Global wild tiger population to be counted by 2016

1 hour ago

Thirteen countries with wild tiger populations agreed Tuesday to take part in a global count to establish how many of the critically endangered animals are left and improve policies to protect them.

Scientists discover tropical tree microbiome in Panama

16 hours ago

Human skin and gut microbes influence processes from digestion to disease resistance. Despite the fact that tropical forests are the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems on the planet, more is known about ...

How are hybridized species affecting wildlife?

21 hours ago

Researchers who transplanted combinations of wild, domesticated, and domesticated-wild hybridized populations of a fish species to new environments found that within 5 to 11 generations, selection could remove ...

User comments : 0