Research Associate, Rare Species Conservatory Foundation
Research: Slender-snouted crocodile conservation project
Species/Topic: Slender-snouted crocodile
Abstract: The slender-snouted crocodile is the least known crocodilian in the world and is the only crocodilian listed as Data Deficient on the 2009 Red List. It is now known that this species is functionally extirpated from over 50% of its former range (i.e. West Africa) and the only robust populations known in the Congo Basin are outside of formally protected areas. In early 2009 the Gabonese Departement de Faune et Chasse initiated a program expanding the current protected areas network of Gabon by one million hectares to protect at-risk species not adequately protected by existing parks. This program identified the slender-snouted crocodile as one of five critical species for reserve development. We propose to facilitate the Departement de Faune et Chasse in two ways: 1) determining strategic localities for protecting the slender-snouted crocodile in Gabon, and 2) providing the first-ever management-relevant ecological data critical to successful protection. We will provide the distribution, spatial, and ecological data needed to draft reserve boundaries, establish a management plan, and train local personnel to monitor slender-snouted crocodile populations and work cooperatively with the local communities to ensure reserve effectiveness. Our program will also preliminarily examine land and resource use by local communities to make reserve recommendations that do not exclude local resource users. The proposed project has direct and immediate conservation implications for this emblematic crocodile.