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Species of the Day- Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii)

December 19, 2012

Species of the Day- Morelet's crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii)

Morelet’s crocodile is a modest sized crocodilian found only in fresh waters of the Atlantic regions of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.The species inhabits mainly freshwater areas such as marshes, swamps, ponds, rivers, lagoons and man-made waterbodies, but occasionally is found in brackish or saline habitats.Morelet’s crocodiles prey on small mammals, birds, and other reptiles.

Morelet’s crocodile has suffered population declines throughout its range, it is thought to be widely distributed in much of its original habitat and in protected areas there are healthy populations . This species suffered severe population declines in the early 20th century due to exploitation and was nearly extirpated in several portions of its range, however after conservation action and legislative protection, many subpopulations are recovering.

Due to severe sanctions, illegal hunting is now thought to be minimal, but still considered to be the principal threat to population recovery in some areas. There are diverse, ongoing conservation measures in place for this species, including captive breeding programmes, protected areas and national and international legislative protection. Monitoring of this species should be carried out.

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