What we do:
In order to increase conservation efforts and management of Crocodylus moreletii within Chiquibul Forest, the following proposed project aims to:
1) create baseline information of the demographics of C. moreletii
2) examine health via parasitism and heavy metal bioaccumulation
3) perform preliminary study of behavior and ecology
4) analyze genetics of this population in relation to other populations in Belize and throughout its range
4) equip and train the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) rangers on performing crocodile population surveys in order to establish annual research excursions.
This population survey and extensive research investigation will be the first thorough official demographic survey and scientific study of crocodiles within Chiquibul Forest. It is anticipated the data from this study will assist the FCD in its efforts to conserve C. moreletii, as well as bolster future crocodilian research within the park. This project is in collaboration with FCD, Dr. Isabelle of the BWRC, and Shawn Heflick from Croc U and Crocodile Manor.
From March 30th to April 2nd, Dr. Tellez and team where in Chiquibul Forest at a remote ranger station, performing the population survey. Unfortunately the boat that was supposed to be used for this excursion encountered some technical difficulties right before we left, so we were left with canoes to perform the survey. This just means we were unable to cover as much ground as we would have liked, and so we will be returning in June to complete the survey. We were still able to get some great data and have a great adventure. There is a very thorough write up on Dr. Tellez’s blog.
From June 21st to June 25th, the CRC team, including intern Andrew Austin and colleague Shawn Heflick from Croc U, returned to Chiquibul to complete their portion of the survey. The trip went off without a hitch this time, and there was even some unexpected new data gathered concerning crocodile cannibalism! FCD (Friends for Conservation and Development) is currently completing the last stretch of the Mocal river survey, and the data will be published later this year.
Publication on our first excursion of Chiquibul Forest is now published: Population status of Morelet’s Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) in Chiquibul Forest, Belize
Publication of cannibalism amongst Morelet’s crocodiles observed while conducting surveys in Chiquibul Forest.
Tellez, M., S. Heflick, M. Boucher, A. Austin (2017) Cannibalism in Crocodylus moreletii. Herpetological Review 48(3): 34 – 35.