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Update of distribution, habitats, population size, and threat factors for the West African crocodile in Mauritania

In: Amphibia-Reptilia
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  • 1 1CIBIO/InBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos da Universidade do Porto, R. Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
  • | 2 2Departamento de Biologia da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto, Rua Campo Alegre, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
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The West African crocodile (Crocodylus suchus) is an emblematic species from the Sahara-Sahel with scarce knowledge on distribution and conservation status. This study updated the knowledge on distribution, occupied habitats, population size, and factors that threaten C. suchus and its habitats in Mauritania. Five field expeditions to Mauritania (2011-2016), allowed the detection of 26 new localities, increasing by 27% the current number of all known locations (adding up to N=96). In most localities less than five individuals were observed, and in all visiting sites the number of observed individuals ranged from one to 23. Eleven threat factors were identified, being droughts and temperature extremes (100% localities affected) and water abstraction for domestic use and nomadic grazing (94%) the most frequent. These findings suggest that crocodiles are apparently vulnerable in Mauritania and that future local conservation strategies are needed to assure the continuity of its fragile populations and preserve their habitats.

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