The Crocodile Research Coalition (CRC) is collaborating with researchers all over Belize for a population survey of Belize’s morelet crocodile.

The CRC and its partners began the five-component research this weekend, and expect to conclude it within a year’s time.

The research components include: habitat monitoring; nocturnal eye shine surveys, capture and tag surveys, nest surveys, and community surveys. The nocturnal eye shine surveys entails going out at night and shining a special light, to capture the distinct eye shine of a crocodile. While the community surveys involve engaging persons on an individual basis to find out their perceptions on crocodiles.

According to Marissa Coleman, researcher with CRC, explained that the last population survey done on the morelet crocodile, one of Belize’s only two fresh water species of crocodile, was in 1995.

She explained that the survey is important because the morelet crocodile is the species most commonly involved in human/crocodile conflict. Currently Belize has no crocodile management plan, and the survey will help to craft a management plan.

“The community surveys are important, because it will help us to understand what are the perceptions about crocodiles that exist within in Belize, which will help to determine what kind of community interventions we need to do,” Coleman said.

CRC is working with entities such as Friends of Conservation and Development, Southern Environmental Alliance, Scarlet Six Bio-monitoring Team, Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development, and Belize Wildlife Referral and Clinic, and the Forestry Department.