|Date||17 Apr 2008|
The Okavango Crocodile Monitoring programme aims to fill the common gap between scientific research and conservation management at ground level. The programmes main objectives are taken from a management plan drawn up by the Okavango Crocodile Research Project (2002-2006).
The aim is to carry out all of the follow-up objectives of the research project as well as to begin training in monitoring of the population. This will be done by setting up a monitoring system for the local wildlife department. Sustainable utilization practices such as crocodile farming and hunting, require that effective monitoring take place alongside these activities. Local wildlife departments require training in these monitoring practices in order for trends to be established and quotas to be adjusted.
The project also wishes to answer new research questions for the area including those on baseline contaminant levels in crocodiles. This project will look at the levels of pesticides and other heavy metals in crocodile tissue to assess baseline levels and also assess whether these metals are acting as endocrine disruptors in breeding adults. Pesticides such as DDT were used in the past for the control of Tsetse flies and it is believed that increasing agricultural activity in Namibia and Angola may also lead to increased pesticide use along the catchment of the Okavango river. Nesting habitat in the Okavango River (Panhandle) is vulnerable to human disturbances. Nest numbers in the panhandle have decreased significantly since the 1980's and this is primarily due to irresponsible crocodile farming activities and increasing human populations along the panhandle.
The programme aims to assist crocodile farms with release programmes and educate surrounding communities on the importance of crocodiles for the system.
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