Escudo de la República de Colombia

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Crocodiles released by UNal adapt to their territory

“Federico”, “Cristina”, “Miriam” and “John” have traveled several miles which are analyzed by Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) experts through satellite monitoring.

Bogotá D. C., 22 de julio de 2016Agencia de Noticias UN-

Three of the four crocodiles have established in their territory.

The reptiles were released at the Serranía de La Macarena on October 31 of 2015.

The four reptiles are monitored though the Argos satellite.

They hope to strengthen and increase the species.

UNal works along the Civil Defense of La Macarena y Cormacarena.

They have received more than 8,000 data positions for each animal.

The reptiles released at the Serranía de La Macarena on October 31 of last year have shown a successful reintroduction to the habitat. Observations and analysis continue to make management plans even more effective. 

According to UNal Biologist Rafael Moreno, they began to see very interesting movement patterns linked to the rainy season of the area. With the rain, rivers grow and the habitat offered for them is greater. 

After reaching adulthood at the UNal Roberto Franco Biological Station in Villavicencio, “Cristina” and “Federico” were released on the Guayabero River, later they established their territory. Although they later established in a specific location, their activity range could be considered as restricted. 

“Their roaming is maintained between 4 and 6 kms (2.4 and 3.7 miles) but the exploration they carry out through small water streams is interesting. All the data is helping us become more knowledgeable of the exploration of the species, because it was thought they only thrived in large rivers,” said Moreno. 

For future population studies in other locations of the Orinoquía region they hope to consider these small streams and rivers, mainly during the rainy season. 

“Miriam” increased her action range, as according to previous reports she traveled only 4 kms and recent data suggest she has doubled that distance and is now heading towards the Lozada River to the west. 

On the contrary “John” has always been considered a traveler as his roaming passed from 34 to 80 kms (21 to 50 miles); inclusively he has entered the Province of Guaviare. 

This behavior is because he is a young male and they tend to be errant, probably due to the presence of larger males. However this also helps population genetic variability. 

As the crocodiles crossed the frontiers, researchers are asking themselves where to extend management plans to avoid possible interactions between people and these reptiles. 

In this particular case Cormacarena and Corpoamazonia should begin an alliance to improve the reintroduction of predator animals as these frontiers go beyond political or administrative borders. 

By reintroducing these four crocodiles they hope a reproductive event will occur for the population to improve and increase the amount of individuals. 

The 4 reptiles are monitored using the Argos satellite from signals provided by transmitters installed on their bodies. To date they have received more than 12,000 data and they estimate that more than 8,000 are good quality and provide the exact location of each animal. 

The information is sent in real time to an email account and may be accessed from computers and smartphones. Besides going to the webpage entitled “Navegando con el cocodrilo del Orinoco” (Navigating with the Orinoco crocodile) (http://rafamorearias.wix.com/cocodrilodelorinoco) visitors can see the log of the four reptiles including their location. 

But the work does not end here. The following step is to characterize the locations preferred by the crocodiles, create maps and locate the areas where they hang out the most. 

They will also gather information how people are using the river and try to determine their activities and schedules to become cognizant of the habitat use by the crocodiles. 

Then they will also identify the critical areas where conflict may arise between humans and wild life. 

“With this we will focus on a plan to diminish the vulnerability of the negative events as well as establish new locations for new and greater amount of releases,” he added.

(Por: Fin/VC/MLA/APBL
)
N.° 137

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