Most of the 14 species of crocodiles have been greatly reduced in numbers due to overhunting and habitat loss. The fact that some of the larger species such as the saltwater crocodile and Nile crocodile sometimes kill domestic animals and humans has contributed to the unpopularity of these predators in many parts of the world. The hunting of crocodiles for skins was a major reason for the decline of most species. Now, however, sustainable-use programs are responsible for the recovery and continued survival of several species, notably the Nile crocodile, saltwater crocodile, and New Guinea crocodile (C. novaeguineae). In the 1980s the world trade in crocodile skins was close to 500,000 per year, most from the wild. In 1999 the annual trade was about 398,000, the majority from managed wild populations and farms such as the Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm in Thailand and Mainland Holdings in Papua New Guinea, which together have over 80,000 crocodiles. In general, countries that harvest crocodiles from the wild and on farms on a sustainable basis are successfully protecting their species.
The 2002 IUCN Red List includes 10 species of crocodiles: 3 are Critically Endangered, 2 are Endangered, 3 are Vulnerable, 1 is Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent, and 1 is Data Deficient.
Was this article helpful?