Crocodile Population Recovering in Costa Rica

Conservation authorities in Costa Rica report that crocodiles are thriving once again in the country’s rivers and wetlands. The Tempisque wetlands in Guanacaste have the highest density of crocodiles, with significant populations also in other regions like the Central Caribbean, Northern Caribbean, and Central Pacific. According to data from the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), rivers such as Tempisque, Coto, Pacuare, Bongo, Tárcoles, Matina, Nosara, Colorado, and Sarapiquí host the most crocodiles.

Juan Sanchez, a SINAC biologist, emphasizes the crucial role of crocodiles as keystone species in maintaining ecosystem health and welcomes their population recovery. However, recent crocodile attacks on humans have led to debates about overpopulation. While some argue for population control, academic experts like Ivan Sandoval from the National University refute this claim, stating that ecological indicators don’t support overpopulation theories. Instead, they suggest that crocodiles are taking advantage of food sources provided by human communities encroaching on their habitats.

Officials stress the importance of public safety measures, advising people to avoid interacting with crocodiles and to take precautions near rivers. They advocate for smart land use planning to promote coexistence with crocodiles while maintaining a safe distance. Conservationists plan to monitor crocodile populations to ensure harmony with their environment. While problematic individuals may require relocation, authorities see the resurgence of crocodiles as a positive step in protecting Costa Rica’s wildlife.

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