Population size and structure of the Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus in the lower Zambezi valley
Wallace KM., Leslie AJ., Coulson T., Wallace AS.
Abstract Concern has been raised about the lack of population data for the Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus in the lower/middle Zambezi valley. This area is important for conservation as well as being a source of crocodile eggs and adults for the ranching industry. Two spotlight surveys, in 2006 and 2009, were used to estimate population size, structure and trends. A stage-structured matrix model was parameterized from existing literature and the expected predictions were compared to those observed. The survey data suggests a population increase since 2006. Crocodile density was greatest (3.1 km-1) in the areas of increased wildlife and habitat protection and lowest (1.4 km-1) in areas of increased human presence. The predicted population stage structure differed to that observed, suggestive of a population not at equilibrium. Data on offtakes of crocodile eggs and adults would be useful for examining why this is the case. Continued monitoring of the wild population is necessary, to evaluate the trend of an increasing crocodile population, and additional demographic data for modelling purposes would be desirable. © 2013 Fauna & Flora International.