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CUC Experts Protection of Crocodiles Program
Fernando Álvarez - Vallarta Opina
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June 15, 2011
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CUC Experts Protection of Crocodiles Program
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The Centre Universitario de la Costa (CUCosta), through the Unity of Management Environment (UMA) "Reptile Cipactli" Program, in collaboration with the Natural Protected Area (APN) Estero El Salado and the city of Puerto Vallarta, are working on a general projection of crocodiles project to evaluate the population and management actions of these reptiles throughout Banderas Bay.

Dr. Helios Hernández Hurtado, responsible for the Technical Unit of Environmental Management for Sustainable Wildlife, "Reptile Cipactli", explained that this project comes from 16 years of research and will serve to assess the actions that have worked in different areas related to the management of crocodiles in the Bay.

"It is not only an assessment or diagnosis because we will include an appropriate proposal of management of the species."

Banderas Bay is a special situation because they share three municipalities in two States, thus, the implementation of laws and the rules are different. The River crocodile (Crocodylus Acutus) is the species that is most abundant in the region, people commonly confuse them with alligators", explained Helios Hernández Hurtado.


Also, in the framework of the course of conservation and management of crocodiles, which took place from June 7-12 in the facilities of the CUCosta, it was unveiled that the "Reptile Cipactli" UMA maintains a constant effort to train people. In 11 years of operation, it has trained more than 300 people including students, civil protection and firefighters with a regularity of two courses per year.

Between the conferences of the first day of activities, he emphasized the presentation of the Ocean. Rafael García Quevedo Machaín, head of the Department of Biological Sciences, pointed out that the crocodiles are a part of the richness of the species in a given area. In order to control and regulate several species and populations, they keep channels open in bodies of water with the main predator being man.

He added that the lack of education, a bad management of the natural environments, the lack of implementation of laws, myths and customs, cause damage to the environment of these reptiles.

Contingency plan

For its part, the Biologist, Jerome Dominguez Laso, Director of the Zoo "Miguel Álvarez de el Toro" (ZooMAT), shared the experiences of working in the Museum of the Crocodile in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.

He introduced the Contingency Plan that has been implemented in this institution in order to avoid negative interactions with crocodiles. The Plan is, roughly, in a population study, incorporation of signage, awareness-raising programs, programs of training (environmental education), building for the conservation, S.O.S. care and capture replacement/protection.

Domínguez Laso felt that the course in the CUCosta defines the national significance as part of a scheme in the training of new capabilities and processes for conservation of these species. "It is a huge advantage to have a UMA within a University, since you have the field of study and the place to train more students and give them alternatives. There are few UMA´s with this valuable level of follow-up", assessed the expert.

In regards to the Museum Crocodile ZooMAT, he pointed out that it has a history of more than 70 years, and is located within the Reserve El Zapotal, the Chiapas capital. It is a unique museum with more than 150 species of animals including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects.


Isabel Cardenas, Coordinator of Public Use of ANP Estero El Salado, gave details that biology students from Durango, specialists of the Ecological Center of Cuyutlán, Colima, and the Guadalajara Zoo, also participate in the workshop course of conservation of crocodiles.

The opening included the participation of Mr. Ernesto Häuser, Director General of the Trust of the Estuary of El Salado; Biologist Jaime Torres Guerrero, Director ANP Area of Conservation Ccological Estero El Salado; Biologist Oscar Barragán Cuencas, head of the Department of the Sub Directorate of Environment and Ecology Municipal; and Dr. Juan Luis Cifuentes Lemus, Professor of the CUCosta, responsible for formally inaugurating the activities.

The "Reptile Cipactli" Program is a laboratory study, conservation of reptiles and breeding grounds for crocodiles. It has 9 sanctuaries (7 breeding grounds and 2 adult locations). In this vital space, they live together in harmony between the birds, mammals and reptiles.

+ Wexico

Read this article on PVNN en español.

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Translated by PVNN

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