Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Philippine crocodiles are thought to feed mainly on fish, invertebrates and small amphibians and reptiles (4), but very little else is known about the natural history or ecology of wild populations. In captivity, females build mound-nests at the end of the dry season from leaf litter and mud, upon which they lay a relatively small clutch of 7 - 14 eggs (4). Females show parental care of both the eggs and hatchlings (2).
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Description

The Philippine crocodile is one of the most endangered freshwater crocodiles (3). It is small with a relatively broad snout and thick bony plates on its back (2). Until recently, the Philippine crocodile was considered a subspecies of the very similar New Guinea crocodile (Crocodylus novaguineae) (4).
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Distribution

Historic Range:
Philippine Islands

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Continent: Asia
Distribution: Philippines (islands of Busuanga, Luzon, Masbate, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Samar), Sulu Archipelago  
Type locality: "the island of Mindoro, Philippine Islands."
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Range

Previously found throughout the Philippines, but now reduced to a small and highly fragmented population on a number of small islands (3).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Terrestial nest sites and basking areas.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Preferred habitats include freshwater marshes, the tributaries of large rivers and small lakes and ponds (3).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Crocodylus mindorensis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Crocodylus mindorensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
A1c, C2a

Version
2.3

Year Assessed
1996
  • Needs updating

Assessor/s
Crocodile Specialist Group

Reviewer/s

Contributor/s

History
  • 1994
    Endangered
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Endangered
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Endangered
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
  • 1986
    Endangered
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
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Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Endangered
Date Listed: 06/14/1976
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10) 
Where Listed: Entire


Population detail:

Population location: Entire
Listing status: E

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Crocodylus mindorensis, see its USFWS Species Profile

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Status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR - A1c, C2a) on the IUCN Red List 2002 (1), and listed on Appendix I of CITES (6).
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Threats

The massive population decline of the Philippine crocodile was originally caused by excessive over-exploitation for commercial use (2). Today, habitat destruction is the most pressing threat to species survival, with rainforests being cleared throughout the region to make way for rice fields in an effort to cope with the human population explosion (2). Locals in this area are also in contact with the infamous esturine or 'saltwater' crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), which is one of the largest reptiles in the world and has a reputation as a man-eater. This factor undoubtedly contributes to local intolerance of any crocodile species, even the small Philippine crocodile, which is often killed when encountered (5). The very word for 'crocodile' in the Filipino language is a vile insult (7).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is listed on CITES Appendix I.
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Conservation

Next to the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis), the Philippine crocodile is considered to be the most endangered crocodilian in the world. Some authorities believe there may be less than 100 individuals left in the wild (3), although some wild habitat still remains. Urgent research is needed to assess the current status, in order to implement an effective management strategy for this remaining wild population (3). This species is protected from international trade by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but there is only one officially protected area within the Philippines, and this is poorly enforced (3). At present, captive breeding takes place in a small programme run by the Silliman University and at the government-run Crocodile Farming Institute, which breeds crocodiles for commercial and conservation reasons (3). Sadly, there is currently little political will or local tolerance to save this ancient reptile in the wild and for the short term at least, captive breeding programmes may be the key to the, at least nominal, survival of this crocodile (3).
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Wikipedia

Philippine crocodile

The Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis), also known as the Mindoro crocodile or the Philippine freshwater crocodile, is one of two species of crocodile that are found in the Philippines, the other is the larger Indo-Pacific crocodile or saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).[1][2] The Philippine crocodile, the species endemic only to the country, became data deficient to critically endangered in 2008 from exploitation and unsustainable fishing methods,[3] such as dynamite fishing.[4] Conservation methods are being taken by the Dutch/Filipino Mabuwaya foundation,[5] the Crocodile Conservation Society and the Zoological Institute of HerpaWorld in Mindoro island. It is strictly prohibited to kill a crocodile in the country, and it is punishable by law.

Taxonomy and etymology[edit]

Until 1989, it was considered a subspecies of the New Guinea crocodile (Crocodylus novaeguinae).[6]

Characteristics[edit]

The Philippine crocodile is a crocodilian endemic to the Philippines. It is a relatively small, freshwater crocodile. They have a relatively broad snout and thick bony plates on its back (heavy dorsal armor). This is a fairly small species, reaching breeding maturity at 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and 15 kg (33 lb) in both sexes and a maximum size of approximately 3.1 m (10 ft).[6] Females are slightly smaller than males. Philippine crocodiles are golden-brown in color, which darkens as it matures.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Philippine crocodile is only found on the islands of the Philippines.

The Philippine crocodile has been extirpated in Samar, Jolo, Negros Island, Masbate, and Busuanga. There are still surviving population in the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park within the Luzon rainforest, San Mariano, Isabela, Dalupiri island in the Babuyan Islands, and Abra (province) in Luzon and the Ligawasan Marsh, Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, Pulangi River in Bukidnon and Possibly in the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Mindanao.[6][7][8] It was historically found in parts of Visayas and until the numbers were drastically cut by, mainly, habitat destruction.

Conservation status[edit]

A Philippine crocodile swimming stealthily.

This species of crocodile is one of the most severely threatened crocodilian species. There are roughly 250 left in the wild as of September 2011 according to an article by National Geographic.[9] Although this species was once found over the whole of the Philippines, it is now critically endangered. In addition to this, very little is known about the natural history or ecology of the species, or its relationship with the Crocodylus porosus, whose range it overlaps. More surveys are required to determine the present range. Initial population reduction was through commercial exploitation, although the current threat is mainly from removal of suitable habitat for agricultural purposes to satisfy a rapidly expanding human population. There is also very limited governmental support for any conservation measures, and the crocodiles are often killed by the local populace. This situation needs to be changed through awareness programs. Long-term captive breeding and release (through PWRCC, Silliman University and international breeding centres) is judged to be the best course to take at the present time, although it is imperative that a management program is drawn up for the remainder of the wild population (most of which resides in only one protected area). In 1992, there were estimated to be fewer than 1000 animals in the wild. In 1995, that estimate was revised to be no more than 100 non-hatchlings (note: hatchlings are rarely counted in surveys because their survivorship is so low).

A juvenile.

In 2007, a specialist group has been founded by several people within the Philippines, involved in crocodilian conservation. The Crocodile Conservation Society Philippines and the Zoological Institute of HerpaWorld working on Conservation Breeding and Release Programs. Crocodylus mindorensis was considered locally extinct in part of its former range in Northern Luzon until a live specimen was caught in San Mariano, Isabela in 1999. That individual, nicknamed 'Isabela' by its captors, was given to the care of the Crocodile Rehabilitation Observance and Conservation until it was released in August 2007. The specimen was 1.6 meters long at the time of its release.[10]

The Philippine crocodile became nationally protected by law in 2001 with the enactment of Republic Act 9147 known as the Wildlife Act. It is punishable to kill a crocodile carrying a maximum penalty of ₱100,000 (equivalent to about $2,500).[6] The Philippine Senate introduced Resolution no. 790 on May 31, 2012 to further strengthen and augment existing laws for the protection of the Philippine crocodile and the saltwater crocodile.[11]

Media[edit]

This crocodile was featured in National Geographic's Dangerous Encounters hosted by crocodile specialist Dr. Brady Barr. In one of the episodes, Barr was seeking to be the first person to see all species of crocodile in the world, with the Philippine crocodile as the most difficult. Fortunately, he was able to see a Philippine crocodile of only about two weeks old.[12]

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Only in the Philippines - Endemic Animals in the Philippines". TxtMania.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-22.
  2. ^ Ross, Charles A. "Crocodile Status in Ligawasan Marsh". Philippine Crocodile. Retrieved on 2012-07-12.
  3. ^ "Crocodilian Species - Philippine Crocodile (Crocdylus mindorensis)". Crocodilian Species List. Retrieved on 2007-10-22.
  4. ^ "Wildlife Conservation in the Philippines". BP.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-22.
  5. ^ "Philippine Crocodile Comeback". cepf.net. Retrieved on 2007-10-22.
  6. ^ a b c d Van Weerd, Merlijn. "Philippine Crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis)". Crocodile Specialist Group.
  7. ^ http://www.iucncsg.org/365_docs/attachments/protarea/Page-843dd0aa.pdf
  8. ^ http://www.iucncsg.org/365_docs/attachments/protarea/Proc-17f3b2b9.pdf
  9. ^ (2011-09-06). "Pictures: Biggest Crocodile Ever Caught?". National Geographic Daily News.
  10. ^ Burgonio, TJ (2007-08-25). "‘Isabela,’ the croc, to be freed in wilds". Breaking News: Regions (Inquirer.net). Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  11. ^ (2012-05-31). "Senate P.S.R. 790". Senate of the Philippines 15th Congress. Retrieved on 2012-07-16.
  12. ^ National Geographic Channel Videos - Adventure Shows, Natural History & More channel. National Geographic. Retrieved on 2007-10-22.
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