WASHINGTON (CN) – Morelet’s crocodile, also known as the Mexican crocodile, has made sufficient recovery to be removed from the Endangered Species List, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The crocodile would remain endangered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, to which the United States is a signatory.
The crocodile, which was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Conservation Act in 1972, is endemic to fresh water habitats along the Gulf of Mexico, from southern Mexico to Guatemala.
At the time of listing, the crocodile was endangered by habitat destruction and exploitation through the commercial trade in crocodile skin.
Because the species is not endemic to the United States, its protection under the act was limited to a ban in the import or export of live animals, the skin from the carcass, or products made from crocodile’s skin.
In 2005, the government of Mexico petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the Morelet’s crocodile, arguing that conservation efforts, including farming operations to produce skins for luxury products, made bans on trade unnecessary for the species to survive in the wild.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking for public comment on its proposal to remove the Morelet’s crocodile from list of endangered species.