An innovative new database compiling information about crocodilian attacks world-wide could help with future conservation efforts of the species’.
“CrocBITE, the Worldwide Crocodilian Attack Database” has been launched at Charles Darwin University by researchers at the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL).
RIEL senior research associate Dr Adam Britton said crocodile conservation in Australia had been a victim of its own success and the database would improve understanding of crocodile and human conflict.
“Crocodile conservation has come back to bite itself,” Dr Britton said. “With the protection of crocodiles since 1971 in the Northern Territory, the species has recovered remarkably well, making way for more crocodile and human interaction. There are similar stories from around the world.
“This ‘human crocodile conflict’ is increasing each year as crocodile populations recover from decades of overhunting, and human populations continue to grow and encroach upon crocodile habitat.”
Dr Britton said that to better understand this interaction researchers first needed to study the trends associated with crocodile human interaction.
“The aim of building the database is by no means to vilify crocs, but to better analyse crocodile and human conflict,” Dr Britton said.
“The project will be an ongoing attempt to compile all reported attacks by any Crocodilian species on a human, to better understand risk factors leading to such attacks and ultimately help to improve human safety and, as a consequence, crocodilian conservation.”
Working alongside crocodile management organisations world-wide and trawling through decades of archives and media articles, the team has built a database of more than 2000 records since 2011.
“As you go back in time there is less specific information and some information has been lost, but we are beginning to see patterns,” he said.
Dr Britton said the archive would not only assist with research, but would also serve as an educational resource, with interactive maps, species descriptions and distributions, as well as public safety information.
Members can contribute to the database by setting up an account on the website and uploading information as a user, or by contacting the CrocBITE team via the website at www.crocodile-attack.info
All information entered by registered users will go through an approval process by the CrocBITE monitoring team.
The website was created by the team using a CDU Innovation grant in association with crocodilian research and consulting company Big Gecko.
Source: CDU Newsroom