Saltwater Crocodile | 24 Feb 2022

Why in News?

Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), used to be found in Vietnam and southern China, became extinct in these areas due to human activity.

What do we know about the Saltwater Crocodile?

  • About:
    • It is the largest of the 23 species of ‘extant’ or living crocodilians. This includes ‘true crocodiles’, alligators and caimans.
    • The saltie is also called the ‘estuarine crocodile’ and as the name suggests, is typically found in the brackish water of estuaries.
    • It can also tolerate saltwater in the oceans and can travel long distances over the open ocean, making use of tidal currents.
  • Habitat:
    • The ‘saltie’ is today found in three locations in India — the Sundarbans, Bhitarkanika National Park and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
    • It is one of the three crocodiles native to the Indian Subcontinent, along with the mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) and the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus).
    • It is also found in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia and the Solomon Islands.
    • During antiquity the species’ range extended from the Seychelles and Kerala, India in the west through to southeastern China, Palau and Vanuatu in the east.
  • Threats:
    • Habitat destruction, fragmentation, and transformation, fishing activities and use of crocodile parts for medicinal purposes.

What is the protection Status of Saltwater Crocodiles?

  • IUCN List of Threatened Species: Least Concern
  • CITES: Appendix I (except the populations of Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, which are included in Appendix II).
  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I

Source: DTE