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Wildlife

Intervention at Tempisque River Due to Abundance of Crocodiles

By El Sabanero

Both in the Great Tempisque Wetland and at the river mouth, populations of crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus), far from diminishing, have tripled in recent years.

For Laura Porras, researcher from Instituto Internacional de Conservación y Manejo de Vida Silvestre de la Universidad Nacional (ICOMVIS-UNA), (International Academic Institute for Conservation and Wildlife Management National University) one of the reasons for this increase in population is the gradual disappearance of potential predators of nests and hatchlings, such as coyotes, raccoons, coatis, capuchin monkeys and birds such as herons and kingfishers.  

The country has a list of complaints against crocodiles from residents of the Tempisque Wetland, along with statistics of attacks of these reptiles on humans, some fatal and others with traumatic consequences, for the affected individuals, as well as for the community

As an academic, Porras is part of Comité Científico Asesor en Vida Silvestre del Área de Conservación Arenal-Tempisque (ACAT), (Scientific Advisory Committee on Wildlife Conservation of the Arenal-Tempisque Area), who have developed a proposal for medium and long term management of crocodiles in this area.

The immediate action is the removal of adult males from the natural habitat. "We are trying to eliminate the internal pressure of the crocodile population and control the movement of individuals to other sites, minimizing human contact and thus the risk of accidents."

In the first stage they will remove 60 individuals displaying any of the following characteristics: adult males over six and a half meters (eight feet) in length that are in places outside of their natural habitat, individuals found in aquaculture ponds, those which have been reported by the people and represent a danger to the community and those that are physically damaged and have lost their ability to reproduce.

Porras explains, the removal is done in blocks in order to monitor and determine if the extraction of more individuals is necessary. "The idea is to continue with this medium-term plan until we identify when the population is approaching a biologically acceptable sex ratio of male to female."

Porras recommends not to attempt to remove or eliminate these reptiles on your own, but to contact the ACAT by phone 2277-3598 or email [email protected] so the experts in the subject can take appropriate measures for the safety of the population.


 

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