Costa Rica man pictured kissing crocodiles for boat load of tourists - Mirror Online
A man has been killed by a crocodile while he attempted to wade across a flooded river in Australia's Northern Territory. Authorities are increasingly exasperated that people continue to make the dangerous crossing. The man had been trying to cross the East Alligator River on Thursday with two women when he suddenly disappeared. Both the man's companions made it across the fast flowing river, which is well-known as a crocodile hotspot.
Rangers carried out a search and found the body, which was taken to the city of Darwin to be autopsied. A French woman was injured by a wild crocodile while visiting a national park in Thailand. The tourist, who had been hoping to take a snapshot of herself with the animal, allegedly squatted next it. A woman is feared dead after being attacked by a crocodile in Australia.
She had been taking a late-night swim in a national park known for its large crocodile population. An elderly fisherman survived hours among circling crocodiles after one of the animals capsized his boat in north Australia.
His companion drowned under the upturned vessel. Indonesia's anti-drug agency has proposed placing convicted drug convicts on an island surrounded by crocodiles. The head of the anti-drug agency has said man-eating crocodiles would not be bribed. The crossing provides the only route into the restricted-access aboriginal Arnhem Land. There is no bridge, with the river overflowing a concrete crossover that is regularly closed to vehicles. People continue to do it. The man, aged 47, was described by West Arnhem mayor Lothar Siebert as "witty," adding that many people walked across the ford, some kilometers miles east of Darwin, including children.
The death is the first such tragedy since last May when a year-old woman went missing during a late night swim in Queensland's Daintree National Park, despite the presence of multiple warning signs. According to local media, aboriginal communities have resisted proposals to build a bridge out of concern that access to the area throughout the year might lead to too many visitors.
Saltwater crocodiles became a protected species under Australian federal law in , since when estimated population numbers have soared from about 3, to more than 80, in the Northern Territory alone. The animals kill an average of two people per year and publicity about recent attacks has reignited the debate about controlling them. Wildlife rangers in northern Australia have bagged a massive saltwater crocodile after a decade-long hunt for the creature. The kilogram reptile is one of the biggest on record.
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But he was also driven by what he saw as a window of opportunity, opened by the crisis, to take a closer look at an understudied species. What he found were questions, loads of them—not just about what was killing gharials, but about how the animals lived in the first place. To help fill the many knowledge gaps surrounding these imperiled creatures, Lang—along with conservationist Rom Whitaker and croc researcher Dhruvajyoti Basu—launched a research project on the Chambal that would reveal many new details about basic gharial natural history and ecology, from their movements and breeding behaviors to the many threats they face over the course of their lives.
The Chambal River stretches some miles through three states in northern India. It drains into the Yamuna River, a main tributary of the Ganges. Surrounding the river is a region of steep bluffs, box canyons, and ravines—a blazing-hot desert dominated by thorny scrub not unlike the Badlands of South Dakota. According to ancient Indian legend, thousands of cows were once slaughtered along the banks of the Chambal, causing the river to run red with blood. Because of this, unlike other major rivers in India, the Chambal has long been considered unholy. That belief has deterred development along the river and left the ecosystem here relatively pristine.
Crocodile River (Stories from the Wild)
Few roads lead to the water and few bridges cross it, despite the fact that it flows through one of the most densely populated regions of the world. In addition to being a safe haven for wildlife, the area is an infamous refuge for bandits, including a female Robin Hood-type gang leader who was arrested in the s, later elected to Parliament, and featured in an award-winning film called The Bandit Queen. Even within that wild land, it is easy to recognize a gharial. Among the largest crocodilians in the world, gharials have long, heavy bodies and relatively small heads with bulging eyes and skinny snouts.
Although their rows of pointy teeth look menacing, they are specialized for catching and holding onto fish, and pose little danger to people. Despite their distinctive physical traits, relatively little was known about the lives or biology of gharials when Lang began studying them in For years, he and colleagues had been trying, without luck, to gain permission from the Indian government to put radio tags on crocodilians in the area.
But concerns about disturbing the reptiles and tampering with nature contributed to a reluctance to authorize their capture for research.
With the die-off came a new sense of urgency, and in and , the researchers finally got their chance to tag 10 gharials. By the spring of , they had tagged 35 individuals, and had followed the movements of each animal for up to two years. Results have provided a variety of basic information about the species — much of it carrying conservation implications.
Why do crocodiles attack humans?
Mid-sized gharials which were, strangely, the only ones affected by the die-off , for example, rarely travel more than 20 to 30 kilometers 12 to 18 miles from their home base, and they usually cover less ground than that. According to Lang, this suggests that the die-off likely resulted from a single, localized toxic source, as opposed to more widespread river pollution. In contrast, larger adult gharials typically swim long distances — as much as kilometers miles or more each season. That scale of migration underscores the need to view conservation of the species through a wide lens.
These long migrations, Lang says, tie the whole river together.
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Other research sparked by the die-off — and funded in large part by the international zoo community — has revealed surprising and elaborate parental-care behaviors among gharials. Multiple mothers of this mixed brood take turns checking on the hatchlings day and night, protecting the babies from herons and other predators. When dangers mount, a single male may join in on the defense effort. While this annual cycle still occurs today, what remains unclear is what the future holds for a species that, over the last half century, has been defined by precipitous declines.
Gharials were once the most common crocodilians in the open river systems of South Asia, with as many as 40, or more adult gharials living in the rivers of India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Myanmar before the arrival of European hunters. Declines accelerated in the s, with the construction of canals and other structures.
By the early s, gharial numbers had fallen to an estimated 10, In the last 50 years, Lang says, the species has ceased to exist in six locations.
Already gone from more than 90 percent of its original range, the gharial is now limited to 14 populations. Just five of these are actively reproducing. Most groups contain fewer than 50 individuals of breeding age 10 to 15 years old for females, 20 to 25 for males.