Why Are Saltwater Crocodiles Endangered?

Saltwater crocodiles are endangered because of habitat loss and human activities, such as illegal hunting and poaching. Saltwater crocodiles have few natural predators, but draw attention from humans for their meat, eggs and skin. Competition for space with human communities and their tendency to attack people in their territories also make saltwater crocodiles targets for kills by humans.

Saltwater crocodiles thrive in the oceans and seas off of Southeast Asia, East India and parts of Australia. Population sizes and endangered status varies among the different groups. Estimates place the global population size between 200,000 and 300,000 animals. Despite their names, these aquatic creatures inhabit freshwater areas in addition to salty waters.

Like many other crocodile species, people around the world demand parts and products from these crocodiles, especially their skin. Illegal hunting continues to pose a risk to crocodiles, especially those in Australia, despite the implementation of legal protection. Under international law, saltwater crocodiles enjoy protection through classification in Appendix I or Appendix II. These listings prohibit their collection or allow limited catches.

Habitat loss, especially in Australia, threatens crocodile populations too. They increasingly lose their habitats to human encroachment and alteration of lands, primarily for agricultural productions. Converting lands to farms disturbs crocodiles' nesting and breeding grounds, as those areas are damaged by water buffalo and livestock.