Mexico is a wonderfully diverse country that offers endless experiences for travelers. From the indigenous Mayan cultural sites to the excitement of Mexico City with its beautiful colonial buildings, it is immensely architecturally diverse. It’s natural landscapes displays desert landscapes, snow-capped volcanoes and lonely beaches but the flora and fauna top off the collection of beauty in this wonderful country.
In 2003 I was invited to Cancun and Tampico in Mexico to help with the management of their two crocodile species.
Due to an expanding human population, hunting and extensive habitat destruction, both of Mexico’s Crocodilian species have an endangered status. The American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) prefers coastal habitats and attains a length of 4 metres. The Morelet’s Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) prefers freshwater habitats and attains lengths over 3 metres.
What an amazing place. It is easy to see why the management of crocodiles is so important amongst the hustle and bustle of eager tourists sharing water with very large reptiles. I teamed up with my good friend Marco Lazcano the Executive Director of Amigo’s Conservation Company. He’s a top bloke and is Mexico’s leading crocodile expert. Amigos also manages Sian Kaan which is a beautiful set of coastal lagoons with clear water and plenty of crocs.
The successful management of Mexico’s crocodiles will have a knock on effect for all other species that share their domain. Crocodiles are apex predators, at the top of the food chain, so virtually all species below them are indirectly reliant on their presence and well being. A healthy population of crocodiles is an indication of a healthy ecosystem and environment.
Tampico provides an atmosphere and environment that is warm and friendly. The warm climate and scenic beaches provide a myriad of excitement and activity.
A beautiful population of Morelet’s Crocodiles call Tampico’s Lagoon home. This is virtually in the CBD. All around, the lagoon waterside walkways, restaurants, tourist and city facilities have resident crocodiles sunning themselves amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. I was invited to help the Tampico City manage their crocodiles. This involved safety and tourism issues as well as the crocs need for nest sites and general ecosystem stability. This population of Morelet’s Crocodiles poses no direct threat to anyone and they certainly are a tourism icon that people travel thousands of miles to come and see. The greatest gift I had to give in my management plan was the idea to utilize the right bank for nesting females as a place for them to retreat and nest safely. Unfortunately nesting females will bite people if provoked or stumbled upon.
|Cocodrilos de la Laguna del Carpintero
Newspaper article from El Diario de Tampico 13 February 2003
Click here for english transcript
CROCODILES OF CARPENTER LAGOON
News Source: The Daily Tampico, Vol. 13, No. 113, February 13, 2003
At last, being able to contribute to the project for the preservation of the species of crocodiles of Carpenter Lagoon, Australian Steve Irwin was in Tampico taking in the beauty that this location offers and to study the behaviour of this species.
Having Carpenter Lagoon as a stage Steve Irwin, known as the Crocodile Hunter on the television series "Animal Planet", held a press conference to announce his participation in the preservation of the Moreleti crocodiles that inhabit the waters of Carpenter Lagoon.
He was accompanied by Marco A. Lazcano Barrero, Executive Director of "Friends of Sian Ka'an", Conserving the Natural Inheritance of Quintana Roo; Manuel Carrera, responsible for the project to integrate the population of crocodiles of Tampico; and Alejandro Fierro Cabo, sub-director of Ecological Assistance of Tampico.
First of all, Steve Irwin told how his trips of filming jungle life documentaries throughout the world began when he was a child because his father was a crocodile hunter. He added that nowhere in Asia has he visited situations like this one, which is unique to Tampico where crocodiles and humans live in harmony.
His pleasure of being present in Tampico was demonstrated by the fervor of the people and the enthusiasm with which the people of Mexico responded. Steve Irwin explained that his appearance in Tampico, as well as the other colleagues, is to work towards a solution to identify what is diminishing the crocodile population - how it lives in the lagoon, where it nests-and to find ways of managing a plan to enable the crocodiles to live forever in the region. And for that, this group of experts like Manuel Carrera, Marco Lazcano, and Alejandro will continue the project.
Manuel Carrera continued, stating that he will definitely introduce a way of monitoring the crocodiles of the lagoon to be able to determine when the crocodiles can become a problem and when to take measures to relocate the animals. They will monitor when a crocodile may be a potential aggressive animal towards people and to find a way to relocate it in a sanctuary where it will not be a problem to humans. They are looking for a means to maintain the crocodile population, but still conserve the security of the people and find harmony. It is not about trying to take the animals out of the lagoon and locate them to another place where they have no contact with humans - only to take those that are considered a potential danger, and sustain a means to conserve the species.
The Crocodile Hunter indicated that the Saurios-the higher order of the food chain-is to protect the many species that inhabit the lagoon and to guarantee that the same support is addressed to the other species that interact with the crocodiles.
After he received information that was sent to him by the City of Tampico, he became interested in it. He said he hopes to return in a few years to enjoy the beach with his daughter Bindi, and his wife Terri.
City authorities informed us that the collaboration of Steve Irwin should not incur a cost to the city. It will be funded by an external contribution that the program has with interest groups of the diverse species of he world programs.
|Tampico Crocodile Management Plan:
Morelets Crocodile in Laguna del Carpintero
by Steve Irwin