Project Costa Rica Osa Peninsula Crocodylus acutus Survey

This project aims to determine the long term population status of the American crcodile, Crocodylus acutus on the Osa Peninsula. Apart from a few case studies and spot surveys, very little is known about the status of C. acutus in many the countries where it occurs. In the United States, C. acutus is restricted to the extreme southern tip of Florida. In Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua the species is now rare, and declining. And the situation for C. acutus in Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru is thought to be the same. Cuba and Belize are known to have the most robust populations of this species. However, Costa Rica is suspected of having substantial populations of C. acutus because of its excellent institutional structure and conservation policies. But, as yet there is little survey data for the country to substantiate this conjecture. In a report on C. acutus by the Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG), a population census of the species in Costa Rica should be given high priority.

The Osa Peninsula and areas of the adjacent mainland in the southwest of Costa Rica (Area de Conservacion Osa - ACOSA) have extensive areas of wetland habitat ideal for C. acutus: Well over 50% of the country’s mangrove wetlands are found in this area, some 20,254 hectares; evergreen, broad-leaf swamp forest dominated by raffia palm (Raphia taegidrea), cerillo (Symphonia globulifera) and hog plum (Spondias sp.), cover some 6,986 hectares; and freshwater, herbaceous swamps and lagoons, some total 822 hectares (Ecosistemas del Area de Conservacion Osa (ACOSA), INBio, 2003). That is a total area of 28,062 hectares or 280.62 square kilometers of prime C. acutus habitat, excluding the area of open waterways of the many rivers in the area.

You may read the preliminary census report here!

 

       

Map of the waterways of the Area Conservacion de Osa.

 


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