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Cozumel begins crocodile monitoring program to determine ecosystem health

Cozumel, Q.R. — The Cozumel Parks and Museums Foundation began monitoring crocodiles that inhabit the lagoon bodies of the Punta Sur Ecotourism Park since its presence is an indicator of good ecosystem health.

The State Ecological Reserve Laguna Colombia is located within Punta Sur and has three lagoon bodies, Xtacún, Chunchaká’ab and Colombia, where crocodiles live. In a first visual monitoring tour in the Xtacún lagoon, staff were able to identify 12 specimens, reported Rafael Chacón Díaz, director of Conservation and Environmental Education.

He explained that it is very important to have current data on the number of crocodiles that exist in the lagoons. He says visual monitoring has begun by georeferencing the reptiles without affecting or influencing their behavior. Chacón Díaz added that while monitoring the crocodile population, staff are also able to see the number of birds and get a broad overview of the ecosystem.

Crocodile counts determine the lagoon’s health

“It is a way of understanding how the population is in the entire reserve,” he explained adding that the presence of crocodiles in the lagoon system is an indicator that the ecosystem is healthy.

He mentioned that it is precisely for this reason that stray crocodiles are relocated to that area of Laguna Colombia.