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Analysis of Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus nilotica) Hunting in Selected Communities around Fresh Water and Salt Water Transitional Areas of Rivers State, Nigeria

Authors:

HM Ijeomah ,

Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, University of Port Harcourt, PMB5323, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NG
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OD Efenakpo

Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, University of Port Harcourt, PMB5323, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NG
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Abstract

Nile crocodile (Crocodylus nilotica) is threatened and the rate of its hunting and the vulnerability ranking of the species on basis of size or age is unknown in Nigeria, particularly in coastal areas. Analysis of C. nilotica hunting was therefore conducted in Choba, Aluu, Abonema and Emohua, being communities located around the fresh water / saltwater transitional river, with the aim of determining the most vulnerable stage of the species in the study area. The study was conducted from January 2008 to December 2010. Structured questionnaires, field observations and in – depth interviews were used for the study. Through the chairman of fishermen / hunters association all fishermen and hunters operating in selected communities who had ever caught crocodile were identified and catches of C. nilotica were monitored on monthly basis throughout the period of study. A set of questionnaire were administered to all the fishermen/hunters in the study area. In all, a total of 70 fishermen/hunter respondents were interviewed to confirm data obtained between 2008 and 2010. Data obtained were analysed using descriptive statistics in form of frequency, percentages, means, pie chart, bar chart and graph. Results revealed that a total of 3206 crocodiles were caught by 70 fishermen in the study area between 2008 and 2010. The rate of hunting was higher in Abonema and Emohua within the studied period. Mean monthly catches in 2008, 2009 and 2010 were 33, 37 and 33 respectively for Abonema. Numbers of catches decreased progressively between 2008 and 2010 in Abonema and Choba. The juveniles were more vulnerable to be caught in the study area than sub adults and adults, and were mostly caught during dry season (83%) by chance (61%) through entanglements in fishing nets as they stray out to feed. About 54.6% of fishermen and hunters mostly caught juveniles, 32.6% mostly caught sub adults while only 12.8% mostly caught adults. Fishermen find the adults difficult to handle because they can tear fishing nets. The juveniles were mostly caught by fishermen as hunters normally set traps at strategic locations for adults. Catches were mainly for consumption. Unregulated exploitation of juveniles from the study area will drastically reduce population of the species as there is no legislation regulating hunting of crocodile at any stage. With time it will be difficult for an adult C. nilotica to be found in the study area and breeding will stop when existing adults die without replacement as the juveniles could not be allowed to survive to adult stage.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/tare.v14i4.4847

Tropical Agricultural Research & Extension 14(4): 2011 80-84

How to Cite: Ijeomah, H. & Efenakpo, O., (2012). Analysis of Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus nilotica) Hunting in Selected Communities around Fresh Water and Salt Water Transitional Areas of Rivers State, Nigeria. Tropical Agricultural Research and Extension. 14(4), pp.80–84. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tare.v14i4.4847
Published on 26 Oct 2012.
Peer Reviewed

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