The lack of food, water contamination or improper feeding by tourists are just some of the assumptions by experts studying the illness and death of crocodiles in Tárcoles River.
Animals living under the bridge are in a state of malnutrition. Therefore, one of them was captured and sacrificed on Monday to analyze blood samples and data in the laboratory from the National Technical University (NTU) in Atenas.
Juan Bolaños, alligator specialist from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and pensioned professor at the National University (UNA), said he has been researching these animals from Tárcoles River for 30 years.
Two years ago he started a monitoring project involving the Central Pacific Conservation Area (ACOPAC), after people in the area were warned about the situation.
We visited the place and the river, but there are people who live there, like the boys who do tourism with crocodiles, who reported that there were crocodiles that were too thin and looked like scorpions,”
Adrian Arce, ACOPAC manager, said that one of the hypotheses is that food from tourists is affecting them.
It could be that food, but also the pollution in Tárcoles River and even old age… One cannot give an answer without researching first,”
According to data from the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), there are 9 crocodiles per kilometer in the river.
Bolaños said that the capture of this week is part of a pilot plan to rule out several hypotheses, since at the moment there are many assumptions about what is happening.
With the data collected in the field and from the crocodile sacrificed on Monday, the scientists hope the research is completed in a maximum period of 6 months.
Arce warned that it is important for people to be aware they could be affecting the ecosystem and the animals’ health with that bad habit of feeding wild animals.