Species Groups: Reptilia

Turtles and Tortoises Crocodiles

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Reptilia: Crocodiles

Two crocodile species are listed on CMS Appendices: The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus; Appendix I) and the Australian salt-water crocodile (Crocodylus porosus; Appendix II). The latter inhabits coastal waters of Northern Australia, and throughout South East Asia. It migrates into the open sea; and single individuals can be found some distance from their usual range (e.g. Japan, islands in the Indian Ocean). Evidently, they can travel long distances (over a thousand km) by sea, and barnacles have been found on some individuals. This sea-faring ability probably helps to explain their wide distribution. Historically present on the Seychelles islands (now extinct). Movements between fresh- and saltwater occur between the wet and dry seasons in freshwater rivers and swamps, where juveniles are raised.

The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) has been suggested as early as 1979 for inclusion in CMS Appendix I (BELF 1979), due to its movements up and down rivers between its range states Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal and Pakistan. The species is considered "Endangered" (EN) according to the IUCN Red List 2000 (Hilton-Taylor 2000), and suffers from poaching and deterioration of its river habitat.

Several additional crocodile species show riverine movements and have been originally suggested for inclusion in CMS Appendices (BELF 1979). Among those, the Orinoco crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius) is now "Critically Endangered" (CR) (Hilton-Taylor 2000, and occurs between Colombia and Venezuela.


This document is part of the publication "Riede, K. (2001): The Global Register of Migratory Species Database, GIS Maps and Threat Analysis. Münster (Landwirtschaftsverlag), 400 pp." + CD (see copyright), orders: .