A year-round citizen science program to collect data on the behavior and activity of the American Crocodile along the Placencia peninsula.
With the onset of the rainy season in southern Belize, the previously illusive American Crocodile has come out of the woodwork. Around the world, crocodiles become active at the beginning of the rainy season and in September and October 2017, we received a large number of calls about crocodiles sightings around Punta Placencia and Maya Beach. The knee jerk reaction of a lot of people is fear, due the the size and reputation of these impressive apex predators. We have been helping to channel that enthusiasm into the more productive feeling of curiosity. We have supplied many of these callers with our educational literature on how to live with crocodiles and avoid human-crocodile conflict, and for those that are interested, we have also given them a behavioral observation sheet to record further crocodile sightings. More eyes and ears in the environment are a valuable resource, especially since the CRC cannot be everywhere at once, and since crocodiles don’t normally hang around for us to get there after someone has made a call.
So what will we do with all this data? Annually, we will compile the data to look at patterns of crocodile activity, behavior, and “hot spots.” All this information can be utilized to mitigate human-crocodile conflict. Similar programs have been used in India and Australia and have GREATLY decreased human-crocodile conflict, while simultaneously increasing community awareness and education about living with crocodiles.
With a more informed and interested community, Placencia will continue its great record of very little human-crocodile conflict, and with the data that we collect, we can all learn more about our prehistoric neighbors and how to co-exist with them peacefully.
To Date, we have NOT relocated any crocodiles due to our educational outreach and the community is beginning to appreciate and respect crocodiles and not fear them. For us, this is absolutely successful!
Please return filled data sheets to Wende Bryan at the Placencia Breeze office across from Brewed Awakenings.
Thank you for your support and interest and good luck crocin’!