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Status and conservation of crocodilians in northeastern Belize

Authors:
  • Institute for Neotropical Wildlife and Environmental Studies (NeoWild)
Article
Spotlight surveys were conducted from 1992 to 1997 to determine the population status of Morelet's crocodile, Crocodylus mor-eletii, in northern Belize. A total of 754 crocodiles were observed and 481.9 km surveyed (1.55/km). Encounter rates were highest in non-alluvial (8.20/km) and alluvial (6.11/km) lagoons, and considerably lower in most rivers and creeks (0.95/km), and coastal mangrove habitats (0.24/km). The population sex ratio was signi®cantly male biased (1 female:5.3 males), although the reasons for this are unclear. Comparisons with survey data from 1979 to 1980 suggest substantial population recovery has occurred following legal protection in 1981. At present there are no immediate threats to the continued survival of Morelet's crocodile in Belize. Conservation actions should address the creation of additional protected areas in anticipation of future regional development.
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