Friday, November 28, 2014

Australia's Crocodile Attack Database to Help Conservation Efforts and Save Lives of People

Saltwater crocodile

It has recently been reported that an Australia-based database which lists crocodile attacks from around the world will be used to assist conservation efforts for the species and save people's lives after ensuring financing. This database, called CrocBite, was established last year by Dr. Adam Britton, a researcher at Charles Darwin University, and his pupil Brandon Sideleau. The database has now been given $30,000 in financing through an Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration award so that it can be extended with the aid of Imperial College London. According to Dr. Britton, CrocBite had recorded 1,800 crocodile-related incidents, which included fatal and non-fatal attacks. There are now roughly 2,700 recorded crocodile attacks from around the world. The new financing will be used to help communities in Africa and Asia to better document crocodile attacks, along with giving more accurate information on the database. The CrocBite records indicate that saltwater crocodiles, including the ones found in northern Australia, are the most dangerous of all, claiming lives of more than 300 people and injuring roughly 200 between 2008 and 2013. Nile crocodiles, on the other hand, were responsible for 466 injuries and deaths to this date although the number is probably far greater due to lack of documented incidents. Comparatively, the American alligator was accounted for 61 registered deaths and injuries between 2008 and 2013 and the Australian freshwater crocodile for only five incidents. Dr. Britton also added that some countries have implemented methods to prevent life-threatening encounters with crocodiles. For example, in Sri Lanka, people have set up cages into rivers so people can climb inside and bathe safely. However, Dr. Britton also added that more needs to be done to curb crocodile attacks on people while proceeding with conservation efforts that have led to increase in crocodile numbers.

It is extremely beneficial to have a special database that records animal attacks to be used in helping conservation efforts directed at saving such animals and even people from dangerous encounters with these animals. This is seen in the case of crocodiles and alligators, which have been historically and currently responsible for staggering numbers of human fatalities. Such encounters occur when people are either washing, fishing, or even bathing along the water's edge. Whenever there has been crocodile-related incident, the response is usually to have the animal killed. But due to conservation efforts directed at saving crocodiles and their relatives from being ruthlessly slaughtered for their skins, new tactics have been employed to keep both people and crocodiles safe from each other. One such method has been implemented by people in Sri Lanka in which they set up cages in rivers allowing people to climb inside and safely bathe. In some parts of Africa, people would put up some sort of a fence-like barricade between the riverbank and the river so that they can bathe and perform their daily chores without risking potential attacks from crocodiles. However, despite the use of proper safety measurements, crocodile attacks still continue to occur and regularly make headlines. This is especially seen in areas where people lack necessary materials and resources to keep themselves safe from crocodiles. Therefore, it is crucial to provide people living in a climate of fear with proper equipment and teaching them on how to prevent lethal encounters with crocodiles while bathing and carrying out daily chores along riverbanks at the same time.

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