American crocodile reclassified to threatened
By special to
Originally posted on March 20, 2007

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that recovery efforts are making it possible to reclassify the American crocodile in Florida from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

“Crocodiles were a part of Florida’s history for hundreds of years until human activities such as urban development, agricultural conversion, and over-hunting decimated their populations,” said Sam D. Hamilton, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “However, in the past 30 years, we have made great strides in protecting this species and conserving its habitat.”

The Service’s final reclassification decision comes after the completion of its five-year review required under the ESA for all endangered and threatened species.

An endangered species is defined as being in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future. A threatened classification means a species could become endangered.

Reclassifying a species from endangered to the less-critical threatened designation is often reflective of recovery efforts reducing imminent threats and allowing populations to increase.

The American crocodile is being reclassified in southern Florida, its only habitat within the United States.

The crocodile will remain endangered where it occurs in other countries, including Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. The species also occurs in southern coastal regions of the Atlantic and Pacific, including the Pacific coast of Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, as well as the Greater Antilles (with the exception of Puerto Rico).