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Turning Back Time

Photo from Earth.com

 

An interesting article from Earth.com, written by Richard Pallardy:

Turning Back Time:  The Recovery of the American Crocodile

For a while there, it looked like time was running out for the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) population in the United States. The hands of the extinction clock for the species were, of course, accelerated by human carelessness — a bitter inversion of the visceral ticking that marked the hours until Captain Hook’s ingestion in Peter Pan.

Only discovered at the relatively late date of 1807, and not found in the United States until 1869, habitat destruction and overhunting had ravaged the already-rare reptiles by the 1970s. The historically estimated population of perhaps 2,000 individuals in southwest Florida had fallen to under 400.

Surveys during that period found a mere 20 nests, restricted to Florida Bay and Key Largo. Beginning in 1975, when the species was federally listed as endangered, an aggressive rehabilitation plan was enacted, creating protections and new habitat for this somewhat particular animal. By 2007, the prehistoric creatures were downlisted to threatened. The population has now rebounded to levels roughly equivalent to its former abundance.

To read more, including the American crocodile’s curious infatuation with the Cuban crocodile, click onto the article here.

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