Crocodiles, no matter where they exist in the world, are an endangered species. Their habitat is being lost and they are being poached for their meat which in some cultures is seen as a delicacy. The state of the crocodile is no different on the Caribbean Island of Jamaica. The crocodile is disappearing.
The crocs in Jamaica are in the American Crocodile family, which are smaller and less aggressive than other species, like their cousins in Africa, known as the Nile crocodile.The reptile holds a particular cultural significance. They are at the center-top of the national coat of arms, created in the 17th century.
But the pressure on the species has grown over the decades. The best estimate of how many are left is a conservative guess of less than one thousand. The destruction of their habitat and the poaching are the main reasons for their demise. Adding to that, the Jamaican crocodile has experienced a more worrisome turn as their meat has been sought-after under the false premise it has aphrodisiac properties.
The reptile is a keystone that helps regulate the food chain and balances the ecosystem where they live, but they are disappearing in most parts of the world.
Correspondent John Zarrella went to Jamaica to catch up with one man who is devoted to saving the reptile from extinction.