Four of the 23 crocodilian species (Chinese alligator, Orinoco crocodile, Philippine crocodile, Siamese crocodile) are considered Critically Endangered, with a further three (Cuban crocodile, false gharial, Indian gharial) listed as Endangered and considered at risk of extinction. In what is considered the most dramatic recovery of any large vertebrae group, 16 of the 23 species went from Endangered to abundant or not threatened in the last 30 years of the twentieth century. These species' previous decline was attributed primarily to overhunting (for skins) and habitat loss. Recovery was due to a combination of species protection, habitat protection, suppression of illegal trade, and enlightened management programs promoting sustainable use of wild populations as an incentive for their conservation. Efforts to improve the status of the 7 remaining endangered species continue as of 2003.
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