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Crocodilian images which reveal fascinating stories told from a visual perspective.



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If looks could kill...

Saltwater crocodile portrait

There's no doubt that crocodilians are difficult for many people to love. With intense yellow eyes, prominent sharp teeth, and an unyielding expression, crocodilians just don't garner sympathy in quite the same way as a koala or a dolphin would. Of course, koalas and dolphins don't tend to eat too many people either, which makes conservation efforts for crocodilians a serious and difficult challenge.

In order to save crocodilians and their habitats, money has to be made available to conserve and manage them properly. Conservation dollars do not grow on trees, and raising funds can be difficult at the best of times. Of course, fund-raising is only a small part of the entire conservation process, but there's no doubt that an animal's public image influences its conservation on a variety of levels. For people who live away from crocodiles, public image comes mainly from their physical appearance and how they are portrayed in the media. For those who live closer to them, however, the danger crocodiles pose to people becomes much more important. Crocodilians are found in nearly half the countries of the world, and so the issue of what local people think of them must never be underestimated. Local people have a significant say in whether the species will live or die.

This happens a lot with crocodilians. They are commonly regarded as a nuisance, eating people, eating domestic animals, and even damaging property. If people view crocodiles as a nuisance, naturally they want to get rid of them. This is an important point when it comes to trying to conserve crocodilians. Solutions to this problem have most successfully been based upon the idea of making crocodiles worth something to people - compensate people for the potential "nuisance" value that they see crocs having. Eventually, with enough incentive, local people start to see crocs as valuable - as "worth having around" despite the potential disadvantages. This has been achieved through various conservation strategies around the world, whether it be through tourism, ranching, farming or cultural and social issues.

There's a long way to go, however. Although the situation that crocodilians face today is much better than it was only 25 years ago, there are still several species that are under critical threat in their natural habitat. The award for the most endangered goes to the Chinese alligator - although we can make a difference before it's too late. Conservation is a complex process involving action on many levels, and one of those is education. Without a good public image, whether that of local people, or those who live in distant countries, species conservation faces an uphill struggle. Truly, looks can kill.


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