Belize Nationwide Morelet’s Crocodile Population Survey

Project Info

Project Description

The last thorough survey of Crocodylus moreletii (Morelet’s crocodile) in Belize was conducted in the mid-1990s, and suggested that the Morelet’s crocodile had recovered from past exploitation contributing to the general conservation status as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. However, since the mid-1990s there has been scattered data on the population status of the Morelet’s crocodile, and knowledge of the current population is data deficient. By request of the Belize Forest Department (BFD), the Crocodile Research Coalition is leading a nationwide population survey of the Morelet’s crocodile so that the BFD can implement appropriate management plan to ensure the conservation of the species, while at the same time mitigating human-crocodile conflict.

We are collaborating with various other organizations to ensure that this survey is time- and cost-effective in concomitance to providing training so that an annual monitoring program can be established in various locations in Belize to help monitor the species.  Our partners are as follows:

Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development  (SACD)

Belize Wildlife Referral and Clinic (BWRC)

Friends for Conservation and Development  (FCD)

Forest Department (FD)

Scarlet Macaw 6 Biomonitoring Team

Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE)

Croc U

Programme for Belize (PfB)

The Belize Zoo (TBZ)

Southern Environmental Association (SEA)


Dec 9, 2016:

Recently the CRC, along with our partners BWRC, FCD, SACD,Forest Department, Scarlet Macaw 6 Biomonitoring, and Shawn Heflick of Croc U, initiated the Belize Nationwide Morelet’s Crocodile Population Survey. The nationwide survey commenced with a workshop held at the Tropical Education Center in Belmopan on December 8th, 2016. At the workshop, our partners learned about basic crocodile facts, the history of crocodile conservation in Belize, and the methods we will use for the population survey that aligns with the Tri-Country agreement among Belize, Guatemala and Mexico to conduct surveys of C. moreletii. At the end of the day we divided the participants into two groups. The groups went out one at a time, practicing their skills of eyeshine surveying Morelet’s crocodiles in Cox Lagoon. The workshop was a great start to an amazing collaboration working to aid both the people of Belize and the country’s Morelet’s crocodile population! There will also be a community survey component to the nationwide population survey. If you are living in Belize we would appreciate your input on Morelet’s crocodiles! You can access the survey using the link below!



April 2017:

The CRC has completed surveys in Chiquibul Forest, and has initiated surveys in Corozal and Cayo District, Belize River, Sittee River, Monkey River and Placencia Lagoon area. We anticipate the field data will be done by end of August 2017, in which we will begin to analyze the data.  The data will be presented to the BFD, and we look forward to have colleagues from the IUCN/SSC-Crocodile Specialist Group join us in assisting BFD create a crocodile management program. Additionally, we anticipate that this study will help initiate a much needed nationwide population survey of the American crocodile.



Morelet’s Crocodile Community Survey:


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