Current Distribution of Crocodylus porosus
SUMMARY OF DISTRIBUTION
Countries where present
Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Myanmar, Timor Leste (East Timor), India (incl. Andaman &Nicobar islands), Indonesia, Malaysia, Palau, Papua New Guinea (incl. Bismarck archipelago and other island chains), Philippines, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands
Current presence unconfirmed
Cambodia, Singapore, Vanuatu
Countries where extirpated
China (historical presence unconfirmed), Seychelles (extirpated by late 1810s), Thailand (extirpated by early 1970s, only itinerants remain), Vietnam (likely extirpated by 1970s)
ACCURACY OF DATA
Distribution is based on available data, last updated September 2012. The quality of those data vary between countries, some of which are recent and accurate, others of which are likely to be outdated or uncertain. This map presents our best guess as to where this species is currently found, based on historical maps and updated information provided primarly by local experts and IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group members. Additionally, C. porosus is a highly mobile species and the range of potential itinerants is large, and essentially any island, coastline or river that is accessible may potentially contain itinerant (ie. visiting, non-established) crocodiles. Areas of likely extirpation are typically that way due to loss of suitable habitat, although it remains possible though unlikely that small pockets exist unreported. The map and distribution notes below will be updated if new information become available.
DETAILED DISTRIBUTION BY COUNTRY
Saltwater crocodiles were once present throughout coastal Bangladesh but have since been extirpated from almost all of their former range. The species was found as far as the Chakaria Sundarbans north of Cox's Bazar until the 1950s (Akonda n.d.), but today the only remaining wild saltwater crocodiles within Bangladesh are located within the Sundarbans of Khulna Division, with occasional itinerants being spotted within the eastern portion of neighboring Barisal Division (Mushtaq Ahmed pers. comm.).
Brunei is a very small sovereign state nestled tightly between the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah in northern Borneo. Surveys conducted by Jack Cox (Cox 2006) revealed a widespread but very low density saltwater crocodile presence throughout the waterways of Brunei Bay. Information obtained during the surveys suggested that illegal hunting pressure may be having a significant impact on the region's crocodile population. Surveys have not been conducted throughout the remainder of Brunei, but in recent years attacks on humans have occurred within the Belait River, Tukong River, Damuan River, and other areas. These attack locations suggest a widespread presence, but no other information is available.
Saltwater crocodiles were historically distributed throughout the lowland waterways of Cambodia; in fact, the largest crocodile skull on record (on display within the Paris Museum) is said to have been obtained in Cambodia at some point during the early 19th Century (Whitaker &Whitaker 2008). Historical reports from the region suggest that human-crocodile conflict was once quite frequent and that the species may have been responsible for more human deaths than tigers. In addition to being present within coastal Cambodia, saltwater crocodiles were also historically present within the upper Mekong Delta/River region in the massive Tonle Sap Lake. While the species was eliminated from Tonle Sap Lake at some point within the past 50 years (Platt 2006), it is possible that a small number of saltwater crocodiles remain within coastal Koh Kong province in the country's southwest. Wildlife officials have spotted large crocodiles in brackish water areas within Koh Kong, but whether these are saltwater crocodiles or Siamese crocodiles (Crocodylus siamensis) is yet to be determined (Jenny Daltry pers. comm.).
A large, man-eating crocodile (presumably the saltwater crocodile) was historically present throughout coastal southern China from the Vietnamese border all the way up to the lower Minjiang River (at present day Fuzhou in Fujian province) on the mainland coast and the Penghu Islands of Taiwan (although there are no known records from Taiwan itself). Known localities include the lower Pearl River near present day Hong Kong and Macau, Hainan Island, the Hanjiang River, the aforementioned Minjiang River, and portions of coastal Guangxi province. Records for the saltwater crocodile in China come primarily from the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) through to Song Dynasty (960 AD - 1279 AD); during this time period large crocodiles (presumably saltwater crocodiles) apparently preyed on both humans and livestock within the region. The saltwater crocodile population is believed to have become severely depleted following Song Dynasty. The most recent records of the species within the country come from Guangxi province during the 19th Century and a skeleton found in Hong Kong in 1922. It appears likely that the species was eliminated from all of China well over a century ago and from most of its Chinese habitat many centuries ago. It is believed that a sharp increase in the human population of the region approximately 600 years ago, followed by widespread habitat destruction, is to blame for the disappearance of the species (Fu 1994).
Saltwater crocodiles were historically present throughout coastal eastern India and even along the west coast as far north as Kochi in Kerala state. The species disappeared from the majority of these locations by the 1930s with the last record of resident saltwater crocodiles south of Orissa state coming from Tamil Nadu state in 1935 within habitat that has since been eliminated. Today the species is only found within two mainland locations (Bhitarkanika National Park in Orissa, and the Sundarbans in West Bengal) and one island territory (the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.) Given the high level of human population pressure and habitat destruction it is unlikely the species will ever be reestablished outside of these remaining areas (Singh and Kar 2006).
Saltwater crocodiles are widely distributed in varying densities throughout the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. On North Andaman crocodiles are known to exist within the Austin Strait including within waterways on both Anderson and Interview Island. The species is also present within Coffrie Bay, Congo Bay, Bada Dera and various other coastal locations. A population was once present within a freshwater wetland on North Reef Island, but following the devastating Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami of 2004 the swamp dried up and the land became elevated, resulting in the disappearance of crocodiles from the island. Sightings of crocodile tracks on Landfall Island in the far north suggest that the species is also present there. On Middle Andaman crocodiles are known from a number of areas including the Homfray Strait, Baratang Island, Flat Island, Robert's Bay, Louis Inlet, and other locations, particularly along the western coast. The Jarawa Tribal Reserve, which is comprised of portions of both Middle and South Andaman, is home to a large population of crocodiles. Major Jawara Tribal Reserve locations include Constance Bay, Port Campbell and Dumlachorag. Other South Andaman locations include the Wandoor Marine National Park, Rutland Island, South Cinque Island, and the southern coasts of the Boat and Redskin Islands (Manish Chandi pers. comm.).
Ritchies Archipelago lies to the immediate southeast of Middle Andaman and is also home to breeding crocodile populations. The species is known from Outram Island, the John and Henry Lawrence Islands and from at least two waterways on Havelock Island. On Little Andaman, the southernmost of the Andaman Islands, crocodiles are present in almost all areas holding suitable habitat, particularly along the south and west coasts. Important east coast locations include Butler Bay Creek and the Chemale River (Manish Chandi pers. comm.). Human-crocodile conflict within Hut Bay, along the east coast, has been analyzed in recent years (Whitaker 2008).
The Nicobar Islands, which lie to the south of the Andaman Islands, also hold populations of saltwater crocodiles. Crocodiles are known to exist within Central Nicobar including the islands of Tillanchong, Kamorta, Nancowry, Trinket, and Katchal. Both Little Nicobar and Great Nicobar Island hold populations of the species. On Great Nicobar the species is present in all areas holding suitable habitat excluding the human-populated region south of Campbell Bay along the east coast. In recent years crocodile poaching has become an issue on Great Nicobar (Manish Chandi pers. comm.).
Within the Orissa state of eastern India saltwater crocodiles persist only within Bhitarkanika National Park and adjacent waterways within Kendrapara District (Nikhil Whitaker pers. comm.). A 2012 crocodile census of the national park yielded sightings of 1,646 individuals (Zee News India 2012) making the population easily the largest within India. Human-crocodile conflict has become an issue in recent years with dozens of human fatalities reported within the past decade.
Saltwater crocodiles persist in small numbers only within the Sundarbans portion of West Bengal. Population size estimates are not available, but surveys are being planned for the future. It is believed that the population is very small despite the large amount of available habitat (Rom Whitaker pers. comm.).
The island of Sumatra contains resident saltwater crocodile populations, particularly within the extensive lowland waterways along the eastern coast, but the status of these populations is unknown. Within Lampung province the species has been observed within Way Kambas National during Tomistoma surveys (Bezuijen et al. 2002) and attacks on humans are frequently reported from rivers within the Tulang Bawang Regency. In South Sumatra province the species is known to inhabit Sembilang National Park (RIS 2010) and attacks on humans are frequently reported from waterways within Banyuasin Regency and from Musi Banyuasin, particularly around Pulau Rimau. Within Jambi province populations are known from Berbak National Park (Bezuijen et al. 2002) and the Batang Hari River has been the site of significant human-crocodile conflict (HCC) in recent years. In Riau province saltwater crocodiles of all sizes have also been documented in waterways east of Tebbing Tinggi Island on Rangsang Island in recent years (Shawn Heflick pers. comm.), while attacks on humans have recently been reported from Indragiri Hilir Regency, the Siak River and the Rokan River. In North Sumatra province attacks have recently been reported from the Kualuh River of Labuhan Batu Regency and from the western coast in Central Tapanuli Regency, but much of the habitat along the eastern coast of North Sumatra north of Labuhan Batu Regency has been eliminated and is heavily populated (particularly around the cities of Medan and Tebing Tinggi). Reports of saltwater crocodiles within the northernmost province of Aceh come mostly from the western coast, particularly around the Singkil River/swamp and the Woyla River, as well as from some of the Banyak Islands. In West Sumatra province information is limited to recent instances of human-crocodile conflict within the Kinali River, the Silaut River and the Masang River, while populations are also known from the Mentawi Islands, such as Siberut (Global Green 2010). In the southeastern province of Bengkulu an attack was recently reported from Muko-Muko Regency and large crocodiles have recently been sighted within the Bangkahulu River Estuary near Bengkulu city (Ahmad 2012). In addition, the isolated Bengkulu province island of Enggano is reported to contain a substantial population including very large individuals (Enggano Conservation 2011), but this has yet to be confirmed by surveys.
Kalimantan, which forms the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, consists of four provinces. Human-crocodile conflict within East Kalimantan province suggests that the species is widespread throughout the province, with attacks being reported from many coastal rivers including the Sangatta River and other areas within East Kutai Regency, the Santan River near Bontang and around Bontang City itself, the Sesumpu River near Balikpapan, and within Nunukan Regency near the border with Sabah, Malaysia. It is possible that healthy saltwater crocodile populations exist within undisturbed sections of the massive Mahakam River Delta east of Samarinda and large crocodiles have been observed as far up the Mahakam drainage as the Belayan River (Rob Stuebing pers. comm.). Little information is available from South Kalimantan province, but while it has been suggested that the other local crocodilian species T. schlegelii is extinct within the province (Stuebing et al. 2006), a fatal C. porosus attack within the Sampanahan River in early 2007 suggests a continued presence of some kind for this species. The species is also reported to be present within Pleihari Tanah Laut Wildlife Reserve at the southern tip of the province (Indonesia Traveling 2012), but detailed surveys are unavailable. In Central Kalimantan province attacks by the species have been reported from the Mentaya River south of Sampit and the species has been confirmed from Tanjung Puting National Park (the Sekonyer River) during surveys. Within Tanjung Puting the species can occur far upstream within the Sekonyer Kanan River during periods of high water and instances of predation on both humans and T. schlegelii have been recorded (Auliya 2006). Within West Kalimantan province saltwater crocodiles have been confirmed approximately 1000 km up the Kapuas River at Putussibau (Rob Stuebing pers. comm.), reported from Muara Kendawangan approximately 90 km south of Ketapang (Silvius n.d.) and attacks have recently been reported from the Kakap River but little other information is available. It is unknown if the generally low number of crocodiles sighted in surveys of Borneo and Sumatra is the result of low numbers of crocodiles being present or flawed survey methods (Bezuijen et al. 2004).
The Bangka-Belitung Province consists of two islands situated between Sumatra and Kalimantan. While no official information exists regarding the presence of saltwater crocodiles within the province, frequent human-crocodile conflict within the region suggests that resident populations remain. On Bangka Island attacks on humans have recently occurred within many abandoned tin mines, as well as within the Bangka River, Balar River, Ulim River, Gusung River, Antan River, and Peniduk River. On Belitung Island attacks have been reported from the Dukong River and Sembulu River. In addition to attacks on humans, the retaliatory killing of large crocodiles has also become an issue recently (Bangka Pos 2012) and could threaten the existence of the species within the province.
The species has been extirpated from virtually all of Java with the exception of Ujung Kulon National Park in Banten Province at the western extreme of the island. The status of the species in Ujung Kulon is unknown, but crocodiles have been spotted on Panaitan Island (Auliya 2004) and a fatal attack on a fisherman occurred at Handeuleum Island in April of 2007. Saltwater crocodiles have also been released by the Cikananga Wild Animal Rescue Center into Ujung Kulon, as well as Cikepuh Nature Reserve in the Sukabumi Regency of West Java Province (Daltry and Hongxing 2006), although it is unknown if the reintroductions into Cikepuh were successful. The species has also been reported from the Kangean Islands (off the eastern coast of Madura Island in East Java Province) by various unofficial sources in recent years, including vague reports of fatal attacks on humans within the island chain (Lueras and Lueras 2002).
Despite a lack of information, it appears as though the saltwater crocodile has been absent from Bali for quite some time and likely extirpated from most of West Nusa Tenggara. The species is extinct on Lombok Island due to a long history of intense hunting pressure and near total habitat destruction to make way for rice cultivation (Klock 2008). The status of the species on Sumbawa Island is unclear; within recent years crocodiles were present and attacked people along the southern coast within Dompu Regency (Amala River in Woja), but it is unknown if any resident populations remain.
The saltwater crocodile is present within some portions of East Nusa Tenggara and extinct within others, with perhaps the largest populations likely being present within the Indonesian western half of Timor Island. The species appears to be present throughout coastal distributions in West Timor and many attacks on humans have occurred within recent years, although not reported to be at the same frequency as neighboring Timor-Leste. The species has been confirmed from Manipo/Menipo Island along the southern coast near Oemoro, the Noelmina River immediately to the east of Oemoro and the Maubesi Mangroves (Marliana Chrismiawati, S. 2012), also along the southern coast approximately 10 km from the border with Timor-Leste. Attacks have recent been reported from a number of locations, both along the coast at sea, as well as within coastal waterways. Recent attack locations include Temukna Wini Beach immediately to the east of the isolated Oecussi district of Timor-Leste, Biboki Anleu in the north-central area, Tablolong Beach in the west along the Semau Strait, Manikin Beach just to the east of Kupang City, and at various locations around Kupang Bay including Bila Safua and mangroves near Pariti and Bipolo villages. The species has also been recently reported from limited portions of East Nusa Tenggara outside of Timor. Immediately southwest of Timor lies the small Rote Island, and the species has been confirmed to be present there (Endarwin et al. 2005). On Sumba Island recent Indonesian news reports have stated that crocodiles were a danger for children crossing the Maulumbi River in order to attend school and that one child had even been killed by a crocodile (Waingapu 2011a), although no details is provided regarding the alleged attack. In addition, crocodiles are reported to have been captured from fields in Pahung Lodu district (Waingapu 2011b). During late 2011/early 2012 three crocodile attacks, including two fatalities, were reported from Lembata Island of the Solor Archipelago just to the east of Flores. The two fatalities occurred within Wailolon Estuary of Omesuri district and the non-fatal attack occurred within the ocean at Waijarang along the western coast of the island. Information from the 1970's confirmed that the species had been eliminated from Komodo Island due to hunting and likely extirpated from Flores Island for the same reason. Apparently a person was killed by a crocodile near Reo along the northern coast of Flores in 1967, but surveys in 1972 yielded no sightings (Auffenberg 1980); despite occasional reports of sightings of crocodiles along the Flores coast in recent years, the current status of the species on the island is unknown.
Detailed crocodilian surveys have yet to be undertaken throughout the island of Sulawesi and, despite reports to the contrary, the only species currently confirmed to be on the island is the saltwater crocodile. Within North Sulawesi province saltwater crocodiles have recently been confirmed from inland portions of the Dumoga River within Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park, within habitat near Kombot village along the southern coast of the Minahassa Peninsula and possibly elsewhere. The species is also known from the province's Sangihe Talud Islands which lie to the northeast towards the Philippine island of Mindanao. Within Gorontalo province the species has been confirmed from the Cape Panjang/Randangan Estuary area south of Marisa in Pohuwato Regency (Platt and Lee 2000) and is likely present elsewhere as well. In Central Sulawesi province the species is believed to have been extirpated from Lake Poso, the Sausu River and the Tambarana River (Platt and Lee 2000) but is said to be present within the Ranu Lakes and the mangroves associated with the lower Morowali, Solato, Tiworo, and Ranu Rivers in Tomari Bay, as well as within the Togian Archipelago within Tomini Bay (Silvius, M. J. n.d.). No official information is available regarding the presence of the species within West Sulawesi province, but recent fatal attacks on humans within the Ampallas River of Mamuju Regency and the Baloli River of North Mamuju Regency suggest a presence of some kind within the province. In South Sulawesi province the species was historically present within Lake Tempe but is currently present within the Ancona, Malili and Cerekan Rivers along the Gulf of Boni (Platt and Lee 2000), while a fatal attack recently occurred within the Malangke region. The species is also known from Lakes Matano, Mahalona (Platt and Lee 2000) and Towuti (Baso 2006). Within Southeast Sulawesi province the species has been reported from Tanjung Peropa to the southeast of Kendari (Silvius n.d.) and from the mangroves of Rawa Aopa Watumohai National Park (Platt and Lee 2000) and, in contrast to other areas, there appears to be very little conflict between local fishermen and the species (Sugiarto 2012). The species has also been confirmed by herpetofauna surveys from Buton Island (Gillespie et al. 2005) and attacks on humans have recently been recorded from Muna Island.
Very little official information is available regarding the status of the saltwater crocodile within the Maluku Islands and no recent surveys have been conducted. Within North Maluku province the species has been reported from Halmahera Island within Wasile Bay (Silvius n.d.) and near Sidangoli on the west coast. A small population is also present within Lake Tolire Besar on Ternate Island just to the west of Halmahera Island (Vladimir Dinets pers. comm.). Within Maluku province the species is present within the Tanimbar Archipelago, Kei Archipelago, Aru Archipelago (Silvius n.d.), Seram Island, Buru Island (Helj et al. 1997), and likely other areas.
Little is known regarding the current status and distribution of the species within the Riau Islands province. A recent non-fatal attack and capture occurred on Lingga Island (Haluan Kepri 2012) and the species has been reported from Bintan Island (Ramdhani 2008), suggesting a presence of some kind within the region. During the 1970's it was believed the species had been eliminated from all of the Tudjuh Archipelago except possibly on the isolated Subi Island (FAO 1977), but the current status of the species in this area is unknown.
The largest saltwater crocodile populations within Indonesia exist within the western portion of the island of New Guinea known as Papua; this area consists of two provinces: West Papua and Papua. Within West Papua island populations are known from Pulau Waigeo (Hamidy and Mulyadi 2007) and attacks on humans have recently occurred within the Raja Ampat Islands (Misool Island). Mainland West Papua populations can be found in a number of areas including the extensive mangroves of Bintuni Bay, Teluk Cendrawasih (Silvius n.d.) and around Sorong (Vladimir Dinets pers. comm.). Within Papua province the largest population is known from the massive Mamberamo River in the north and populations are also known from the inland Tariku (formerly Rouffaer) and Taritatu (formerly Idenburg) Rivers which eventually enter the Mamberamo River at their confluence. Along the southern coast of Papua province important locations include Lorenz National Park, the massive Digul River and Yos Sudarso (Kimaam/Dolok) Island (Silvius n.d.).
The state of Sarawak is rather infamous for its man-eating saltwater crocodiles (of particularly note is a large man-eater dubbed "Bujang Senang" which was killed in 1992 after reportedly killing 13 people)(Webb et al. 2010), although attacks on humans are actually slightly more frequent within some nearby Indonesian provinces. Despite this high level of human-crocodile conflict, the population densities of crocodiles within the state are largely unknown. Distribution information is thus restricted largely to recent attack data, of which there have been instances in numerous river state-wide in recent years. Immediately north of Kuching attacks have recently been reported from the Bako River and the Santubong River, while east of Kuching numerous attacks have recently been reported from the larger rivers including the Samarahan, Batang Lupar, Saribas, and Seblak. Further to the northeast approaching the Brunei border attacks have recently been reported from Niah National Park and within the Baram River near Miri.
The species has recovered significantly within the state of Sabah since protection was implemented in 1982 and is considered to be particularly common within the massive Kinabatangan River (Webb et al. 2010). Attacks on humans have recently been reported from waterways statewide including the Segaliud River near Sandakan, the Paitan River, the Lompatau River of Tampisan, the Udin River near the border with East Kalimantan/Indonesia, and Balambangan Island off the northern coast. A small population is also known from the Klias River west of Beaufort (Mohd Sah and Stuebing 1996). The species appears to be present throughout coastal Sabah in varying densities.
Within Peninsular Malaysia the saltwater crocodile is not common but can still be found within certain locations (Webb et al. 2010). Historically the species appears to have been widespread and attacks on humans were very frequent along the coast during the first half of the 20th Century. Recent surveys are available for only one waterway within the region- the Linggi-Rembau River south of Port Dickson on the western coast along the border between Negeri Sembilan and Melaka states; the survey confirmed that a breeding population existed within the river system (Nazli et al. 2009). Information for the rest of Peninsular Malaysia is limited largely to news reports of crocodiles being sighted or captured in various locations. In recent years there have been instances of crocodiles being found in or around Port Dickson itself, including a large dead crocodile washing up on Ixora Permai Beach (The Star Online 2010a) and a crocodile being spotted within the Tanjung Tuan area (The Star Online 2009). Crocodiles have also recently been captured within the mangroves of Sepetang in Perak state just to the west of Taiping (MySinchew 2010) and are even sighted within the Klang River of Kuala Lumpur in Selangor state on occasion (The Star Online 2004). Along the eastern coast crocodiles have recently been reported or captured within the Kuantan River (The Star Online 2010b) while non-fatal attacks on humans have recent occurred within the Kelantan River of Kelantan state near the border with Thailand and within Teglu Kecil River of Mersing in Johor state. It has also been suggested that the species is breeding within the Nipah swamps of the Pulai River along the Johor strait (Ramsar 2008) and that the Setui-Chalok-Bari River Basin north of Terengganu may hold a significant population, but this has yet to be confirmed (Webb et al. 2010).
Saltwater crocodiles were historically present throughout coastal Myanmar but resident populations have since been eliminated from most areas. Within the Rakhine state in the country's northwest the species was once found within waterways around what is now Sittwe, the mangrove swamps east of Ramree Island and other areas. Today resident populations have disappeared from Rakhine, although a few scattered individuals may remain near Ramree. The species has also been extirpated from Yangon state, the Bago Region, Mon state and almost all of the Ayeyarwady Delta. The vast majority of crocodiles remaining within the Ayeyarwady Delta are found in Meinmahla Kyun Wildlife Reserve in the southeast, although individual crocodiles are occasionally found elsewhere. The Meinmahla Kyun crocodiles represent the only confirmed viable population remaining within Myanmar (Thorbjarnarson &Platt 2006). Evidence suggests that a breeding population of saltwater crocodiles may persist within coastal Taninatharyi state including the Myeik Archipelago and the Lenya River. However, since the state is not under government control biologists have been prevented from conducting surveys to confirm the presence of resident crocodile populations (Platt et al. 2012). In May of 2009 a man was reported to have been killed by a large crocodile somewhere within the Myeik Archipelago, providing further evidence of a continued crocodile presence within the area.
Papua New Guinea
The saltwater crocodile is widely distributed throughout the lowland waterways of Papua New Guinea including both coastal and inland locations. Along the southern coast important populations include the Bensbach River, the Fly River basin/delta, the Kikori and Purari River drainages along the Papua Gulf (Osborne n.d.), and many other areas. Island populations are known from New Britan, New Ireland, Manus, Bougainville (Webb et al. 2010), Normanby, Fergusson, and other islands. Along the northern coast important locations include the Sepik and Ramu Rivers, along with adjacent wetlands and lakes (Osborne n.d.), in addition to many other locations. The species is present very far inland within portions of the country, including the Wasui and Wagu Lagoons (Hollands 1982) and much further upstream along the Sepik River, as well as Lake Murray within Middle Fly District (Hall and Johnson 1987).
Palau is home to resident saltwater crocodile populations with somewhere between 500 and 750 saltwater crocodiles estimated to currently be present within Palauan waters (Brazaitis et al. 2009). The historic population size of saltwater crocodiles within Palau is unknown, although it is believed to have been much larger prior to intense hunting pressure during the 1970's triggered by two attacks on humans (one of them fatal) (Crombie and Pregill 1999). Although the saltwater crocodile population within Palau is believed to be stable, the species is given no legal protection within the country and is viewed negatively by the locals (Webb et al. 2010).
The saltwater crocodile has been extirpated from much of its former range within the Philippines and currently populations remain in only a few scattered locations. On the island of Mindanao the species is present within the Ligawasan Marsh and adjacent waterways in the southwest of the island (Pomares et al. 2005) and also within the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in the eastern portion of the island, where in September of 2011 a 20.24 foot/6.17 meter saltwater crocodile, the largest reliably measured, was captured by locals following two fatal attacks (Britton et al. in press). This species is also reported to be found within the mangroves of Languyan Island of the Tawi-Tawi province southwest of Mindanao (WWF 2005) and within the mangroves of Del Carmen municipality on Siargao Island northeast of Mindanao (Birdlife International 2012). On Luzon Island the species has been reported from three areas in the northeast: the Blos River of barangay Reina Mercedes, the Divilacan mangroves of barangay Dimasalansan and the Palanan River estuary of barangay Culasi (Van der Ploeg et al. 2008). On the island of Palawan the species appears to only remain within the southern portion of the country and in recent years attacks on humans have occurred within the Rio Tuba area near Bataraza on the southeast coast and from near Rizal on the southeastern coast. The species is also reported to be present within the islands of the Balabac Strait between the island of Palawan and the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah (Conservation International 2012). The status of the species within Naujan Lake on the island of Mindoro is unclear; crocodile eye-shines have been spotted in recent years and these are believed to belong to the saltwater crocodile, but it is unknown if a viable population remains (Banks 2005).
Until relatively recently it was unknown exactly which crocodile species was historically present within the Seychelles. It was originally thought that the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) was the species present, but examination of skeletal remains has revealed that it was actually the saltwater crocodile which was once present throughout the Seychelles. Situated in the western Indian Ocean and closer to Africa than Asia, the presence of the species within the Seychelles is a testament to the saltwater crocodile's sea-faring ability. Explorers during the 17th, 18th and early 19th Centuries reported of abundant crocodiles within the region. Unfortunately, the species is believed to have been extirpated from the islands by 1819. Today only the skeletal evidence and place names, such as the Roche Caiman district of Mahe Island, are reminders of the saltwater crocodile population that once existed within the Seychelles (Gerlach 1993).
The saltwater crocodile was once present throughout available habitat in Singapore and its neighboring islands (attacks were reported from Tekong Island during the first half of the 20th Century), but has long since been considered extirpated from the island-state (barring the occasional itinerant). In recent years crocodile sightings have increased substantially and a small resident population appears to be present within one area. Crocodiles of varying size are frequently reported from the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in northwestern Singapore, suggesting that a small population is present there (Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve n.d., Wild Singapore n.d., The Annotated Budak 2011). Crocodiles are less frequently sighted within the nearby Kranji Reservoir and Lim Chu Kang mangroves (Toh 2012). While it is unlikely crocodile numbers within Singapore will ever increase substantially (due to a lack of habitat), for the time being it appears as though the species has repopulated a small portion of the island.
During the late 1980s the saltwater crocodile population within the Solomon Islands was reportedly low due to decades of uncontrolled hunting and habitat destruction and, at the time, the only viable populations were known from Lauvi Lagoon on Guadalcanal, Lake Tatae in the Russell Islands and Ghahirahobo Lagoon on Santa Isabel. However, in 1989 the hunting of crocodiles was banned within the country and in 2003 guns were banned, leading to substantial increases in the region's crocodile population (Webb et al. 2010). Although no detailed surveys have been conducted since the late 1980s, the species now appears to be widespread, although habitat restricted, throughout most of the country. Some reported localities include the Ortega Passage between Isabel and San Jorge Islands, Lake Rano/Renard Cove on Rendova Island, the Three Sisters Islands north of Makira Island (Leary n.d.), and other areas. Most recent information comes in the form of crocodile attack reports, which have occurred in many portions of the country. Incidents have recently been reported from Pavuvu Island of the Russell Islands, the Weathercoast region (southern coast) and Mbokokimbo River (northern coast) of Guadalcanal, Gizo Island, Kolombangara of the New Georgia Islands, Vona Vona Lagoon of Kohinggo Island, Fera Island in Isabel Province, Wagina Island in Choiseul Province, and many other areas. In 1998 a Swiss sailor was killed by a crocodile within Basilisk Bay of Utupua Island of the eastern most Santa Cruz Islands and infomation suggests that populations are also present within the Nendo Island wetlands (Leary n.d.).
Saltwater crocodiles are currently restricted to the southwestern and eastern coasts of Sri Lanka, although the species was more widespread in the past. The majority of remaining saltwater crocodiles are found in the southwest in areas such as the Muthurajawela Wetlands near Negombo, the Nilwala River of Matara District, the Bentota River of Galle District, and other areas. Between 50 and 60 saltwater crocodiles are thought to inhabit the Nilwala River (de Silva 2008) but the species is approaching extirpation from the Bentota River (Gramentz 2008). Along the southeastern coast the species is known to exist in small numbers within the waterways around Panama and Pottuvil (Rom Whitaker pers. comm.). Saltwater crocodiles have also been responsible for a number of attacks on humans within lagoons near Batticaloa and in the Verugal River to the north along the eastern coast, although it is unknown if a breeding population exists within this area. Individual saltwater crocodiles are occasionally found elsewhere; these include wandering itinerants and released "nuisance" crocodiles. In both Yala and Bundala National Parks on the southern coast a small number of "nuisance" crocodiles have been released over the years. Saltwater crocodiles have even been released into landlocked reservoirs ("tanks") in the past, habitat usually occupied entirely by mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) (Rom Whitaker pers. comm.). Human-crocodile conflict is a serious issue in Sri Lanka, particularly along the Nilwala River where "croc-safe" enclosures have been constructed in an effort to reduce the amount of attacks on people conducting activities at the water's edge (de Silva 2008).
Saltwater crocodiles were historically present throughout coastal Thailand including around the Bay of Bangkok and along both the east and west coasts of the Malay Peninsula. Around the Bay of Bangkok the species was once present within the Bangkok area, the Petchaburi River and other areas. Along the eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula populations were known from the Chumphon River in Chumphon province, waterways near Phunphin along Bandon Bay and the island in Ko Samui in Surat Thani province, waterways near Pak Phanang in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, the Saiburi River of Pattani province and Pa Pru in Narathiwat province near the border with Thailand. Along the western coast of the Malay Peninsula populations formerly existed on the island of Ko Tarutao in Satun province, within the Trang River of Trang Province and on Phuket Island (Ratanakorn 1993). A few saltwater crocodiles were found in Phuket Island during the early 1990s, but these are believed to have been itinerants from a neighboring range state (Myanmar, Malaysia or Indonesia) and most of Phuket's crocodile habitat has been destroyed (Ratanakorn et al. 1994). The only portion of Thailand which may still hold resident saltwater crocodiles is the Ranong River within Ranong province along the border with Myanmar. Crocodiles are occasionally sighted in the river and there are even reports of successful breeding, but these have yet to be confirmed (Webb et al. 2010). Given that it is likely the species persists within the neighboring Tanintharyi state of Myanmar it certainly seems possible that a resident population may remain within the Ranong River region.
Timor-Leste (East Timor)
Saltwater crocodiles are a vital part of Timorese culture (they are the country's national animal) and the local belief states that the island of Timor itself is composed of the body of a dead crocodile (UNMIT-JMAC 2008). Despite being revered locally, very little is known regarding the current status of the species in Timor-Leste. Crocodile attacks on humans are much more common than media reports would suggest and, with many attacks occurring in coastal waters, it appears as though there is significant crocodile movement along the country's coastline. Although no detailed crocodile surveys have been carried out on Timor-Leste, opportunistic observations have occurred during past herpetological surveys (Kaiser et al. 2009) and at least one substantial population is known to exist. Lake Ira Lalaro, a massive inland lake located within Lautem District, is reportedly home to approximately 300 saltwater crocodiles (Mark O'Shea pers. comm.); crocodiles have also been reported from the inland Los Palos region west of Lake Ira Lalaro. Along the dry northern coast crocodiles have been sighted within the Malailada River near Lautem (Kaiser et al. 2009), Com Beach, Uatabu Beach, coastal Manatuto, and the border regions of the isolated Oecussi District (UNMIT-JMAC 2008). Saltwater crocodile populations along the much wetter southern coast are larger than those along the northern coast and known locations include the Betano Swamp of coastal Manufahi District. The species appears to be naturally absent from the Timorese island of Atauro (excluding the occasional itinerant) due to a lack of suitable habitat (Mark O'Shea pers. comm.). Detailed surveys are needed in order to identify important locations and actual population status.
The exact origin of the saltwater crocodile within Vanuatu is disputed. The locals believe that Anglican Bishop John Coleridge Patteson introduced the species to the island of Vanua Lava at some point between 1857 and 1871. However, given the sea-faring ability of the saltwater crocodile and Vanuatu's close proximity to the Solomon Islands, it appears more likely that the species colonized the islands naturally. Breeding populations have only been known from Vanua Lava island (particularly the Port Patteson area) and are believed to have been relatively common within the rivers of Vanua Lava prior to Cyclone Wendy in 1972. Following Cyclone Wendy the local crocodile population was drastically reduced and a 1994 survey revealed that breeding was no longer occurring on the island. In addition, crocodiles are generally reviled by the local community and following the survey in 1994 it was suggested that no conservation efforts be made to preserve the saltwater crocodile population on Vanua Lava (Chambers 1994); the current status of saltwater crocodiles on Vanua Lava is unknown.
Saltwater crocodiles were once present throughout the lowland waterways of southern Vietnam, particularly within the Mekong Delta region, but today it appears likely that the species has been extirpated from the country. The species was historically present throughout the Mekong Delta, as well as within the Ca Mau and Kien Giang provinces to the south. In addition, saltwater crocodiles were also known to exist within the Con Dao archipelago to the southeast of the mainland and on Phu Quoc Island near the Cambodian border (Stuart et al. 2002). It is unknown if resident populations of the species were ever present within Vietnam north of the Mekong Delta region. The Can Gio Biosphere mangrove region (formerly known as Rung Sat Swamp) near Ho Chi Min City were heavily decimated by American herbicides during the Vietnam War, although during a late 1960s a large crocodile was sighted along the shore in a defoliated region (Orlans and Pfeiffer 1970). A survey of U Minh Thuong Nature Reserve, of Ca Mau Province, in the early 2000s yielded no signs of crocodiles being present. In fact, most locals were either completely unaware of crocodiles ever being present or knew that they were present long ago, suggesting that the species had been absent from the region for some time (Stuart et al. 2002).
The saltwater crocodile's sea-faring abilities have allowed the species to occasionally wander into areas well outside of its known natural range and to even recolonize areas from which they had been extirpated. There have been several well-documented cases of saltwater crocodiles being found in non-native locations throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Individual saltwater crocodiles have been recorded within portions of Micronesia including the Caroline Islands and Marshall Islands. In 1971 a 3.8 m (12.5 ft) crocodile was captured and killed within the mangroves of southern Pohnpei Island after eating several pigs. In 1986 crocodile tracks were found on Paliyaw Island and the crocodile itself seen on nearby Raur Island, before disappearing. In Yap State crocodiles have been reported from Eauripik Island (in 1959) and from Ngulu Island (in 2010) (Buden and Haglelgam 2010). In 1993 a small crocodile was captured off the coast of Nauru Island (Webb 1994) and in 2004 a crocodile was killed at Ailinglaplap Atoll of the Marshall Islands, approximately 2,000 km from the nearest crocodile population (Manolis 2005). The species has also occasionally been found within non-range portions of Melanesia such as the Loyalty Islands (Lifou Island) of New Caledonia in 1993 (Sadlier and Bauer 1997). In recent years crocodiles have been captured and observed within the Maldives multiple times. Three crocodile sightings or captures occurred in 2011 alone- In February of 2011 a crocodile of approximately 6 ft (1.8 m) was found at Naifaru in Lhaviyani Atoll, in January of 2011 a crocodile of approximately 4 ft (1.2 m) was captured at Thaa Atoll and in December of 2011 a crocodile claimed to be around 10 ft (3 m) in length was sighted at Meedhoo Island of Raa Atoll (Minivan News 2011). Tracks believed to belong to a crocodile were found on Kondey Island of Gaafu Alifu Atoll in 2009 (Beautiful Maldives 2009). During historic times individual crocodiles were reported from portions of Japan, including on Iwo Jima of the Ogasawara Archipelago in 1744, Amami-Oshima of the Ryukyu Islands in 1800 and even as far north as Toyama Bay on the main island (Honshu) (Webb et al. 2010).
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