An analysis of recent saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) attacks in Timor-Leste and consequences for management and conservationBrandon M. Sideleau A E , Karen S. Edyvane B C and Adam R. C. Britton C D
A California State University Channel Islands, 1 University Drive, Camarillo, CA 93012, USA.
B National University of Timor-Leste, Rua Jacinto Cândido, Dili, Timor-Leste.
C Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Ellengowan Drive, Casuarina, NT 0810, Australia.
D Big Gecko Crocodilian Research, PO Box 353, Humpty Doo, NT 0836, Australia.
E Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marine and Freshwater Research - http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF15354
Submitted: 15 September 2015 Accepted: 29 April 2016 Published online: 18 July 2016
Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are potentially dangerous to humans, yet they have major cultural value to many people in Timor-Leste. Recent increases in attack risk are influencing traditional attitudes, threatening culls of remaining wild crocodile populations. To understand patterns that may assist mitigation, we compiled attack records for the period of April 2007 to April 2014, using the CrocBITE online database. Recorded attacks (n = 45) showed a high fatality rate (82.2%), the majority (77.8%) being recorded since 2010. The highest proportion of attacks (46.7%) occurred in southern coastal wetlands suited to crocodiles, areas representing major sources of food, livelihoods and ecosystem services (i.e. fisheries, timber, coastal protection) for locals. Subsistence fishing posed the highest attack risk, particularly from September to February when food security is low. Attacks matched gender roles (most victims were males, the primary fishers) and demographic patterns (teenagers, the fastest growth group, comprised the highest proportion). Predicted increases in food insecurity, fishing activities, coastal impacts and rising human and crocodile populations pose worrying implications for human–crocodile conflict. We recommend essential baseline surveys enabling meaningful management decisions, and suggest that tailored management and educational awareness based on proven existing models could substantially mitigate attack risk while remaining compatible with traditional Timorese attitudes towards crocodiles.
Additional keywords: human–crocodile conflict, mitigation.
ReferencesABC News (2012). East Timor trains crocodile task force. ABC News, 12 September 2012. Available at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-12/an-east-timor-crocodile-taskforce/4256570 [Verified 21 May 2015].
Agricultural and Regional Planning Assistance Program East Timor (1996). ‘Agro-climatic Zones of East Timor. Dili, Timor, Indonesia: Indonesia–Australia Development Corporation Agricultural and Regional Planning Assistance Program East Timor.’ (Kantor Wilayah Departemen Pertanian Propinsi Timor Timur: Jalan Estrada de Balide: Dili, Timor-Leste.)
Alongi, D. (2014). Mangrove forests of Timor-Leste: ecology, degradation and vulnerability to climate change. In ‘Mangrove Ecosystems of Asia’. (Eds I. Faridah-Hanum, A. Latiff, K. R. Hakeem, and M. Ozturk.) pp. 199–212. (Springer Science+Business Media: New York.)
Alongi, D., Edyvane, K., do Ceu Guterres, M., Pranowo, W., Wirasantosa, S., and Wasson, R. (2011). Biophysical profile of the Arafura and Timor seas. Report prepared for the ATSEA Program. Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action (ATSEA), Jakarta, Indonesia.
Alongi, D. M., da Silva, M., Wasson, R. J., and Wirasantosa, S. (2013). Sediment discharge and export of fluvial carbon and nutrients in the Arafura and Timor seas: a regional synthesis. Marine Geology 343, 146–158.
| Sediment discharge and export of fluvial carbon and nutrients in the Arafura and Timor seas: a regional synthesis.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC3sXht1Srt7rE&md5=dadf2846c3b1f87da274c4e8444c7ab0CAS |
Alonso, E., Wilson, C., Rodrigues, P., Pereira, M., and Griffiths, D. (2012). Policy and Practice. Recommendations for Sustainable Fisheries Development in Timor-Leste. Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia Policy Paper Timor-Leste Number 2. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Bangkok.
Anon. (2008). Did you know? In ‘Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter 27’. p. 27. (IUCN SSC Crocodile Specialist Group.) Available at http://www.iucncsg.org/365_docs/attachments/protarea/CSG%20-81525299.pdf [Verified 7 June 2016].
Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO (2011). Climate Change in the Pacific: scientific assessment and new research. Vol. 2: Country Reports. Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO.
Australian Marine Science and Technology International (2011). Report on fisheries livelihoods baseline survey in Timor-Leste. Field project document 2011/TIM/1. Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (GCP/RAS/237/SPA). Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Bangkok.
Barnett, J. S., and Jones, R. N. (2007). Vulnerability to climate variability and change in East Timor. Ambio 36, 372–378.
| Vulnerability to climate variability and change in East Timor.CrossRef |
Barrkman, J. (2009). ‘Husi Bei Ala Timor Sira Nia Liman – From the Hands of our Ancestors: the Art and Craft of Timor-Leste.’ (Museum and Art Gallery, Darwin, NT.)
Boggs, G., Edyvane, K., de Carvalho, N., Penny, S., Rouwenhorst, J., Brocklehurst, P., Cowie, I., Barreto, C., Amaral, A., Smit, N., Monteiro, J., Mau, R., Amaral, J., and Fernandes, L. (2009). Marine and coastal habitat mapping in Timor Leste (north coast). Final report. Project 1 of the Timor Leste coastal-marine habitat mapping, Tourism and Fisheries Development Project. Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, Government of Timor Leste, Dili.
Britton, A. R. C., and Campbell, A. (2013). Croc attacks: a new website with bite. The Conversation, 3 December 2013. Available at https://theconversation.com/croc-attacks-a-new-website-with-bite-20671 [Verified 21 May 2015].
Britton, A. R. C., and Campbell, A. (2014). Open season on crocodiles is not the solution to attacks on people. The Conversation, 21 August 2014. Available at https://theconversation.com/open-season-on-crocodiles-is-not-the-solution-to-attacks-on-people-30722 [Verified 21 May 2015].
Britton, A. R. C., Whitaker, R., and Whitaker, N. (2012). Here be a dragon: exceptional size in a saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) from the Philippines. Herpetological Review 43, 541–546.
Burke, L., Reytar, K., Spalding, M., and Perry, A. (2012). ‘Reefs at Risk Revisited in the Coral Triangle.’ (World Resources Institute: Washington, DC.)
Campbell, H. A., Watts, M. E., Sullivan, S., Read, M. A., Choukroun, S., Irwin, S. R., and Franklin, C. E. (2010). Estuarine crocodiles ride surface currents to facilitate long-distance travel. Journal of Animal Ecology 79, 955–964.
| Estuarine crocodiles ride surface currents to facilitate long-distance travel.CrossRef | 20546063PubMed |
CIA (2015). The World Factbook: Timor-Leste. (Central Intelligence Agency.) Available at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tt.html [Verified 21 May 2015].
Edyvane, K., McWilliam, A., Quintas, J., Turner, A., Penny, S., and Teixeira, I. (2009). Coastal & marine ecotourism values, issues & opportunities on the north coast of Timor Leste. Final report. Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, National Directorate of Tourism, Government of Timor Leste, Dili.
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and United Nations Development Programme (1982). National conservation plan for Indonesia 4: Nusa Tenggara. Bogor, Indonesia. FAO field report 44. FAO, Rome.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2015). Fishery and aquaculture country profiles: the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Available at http://www.fao.org/fishery/facp/TLS/en [Verified 21 May 2015].
Fukuda, Y., and Manolis, C. (2014). Management of human–crocodile conflict in the Northern Territory, Australia: review of crocodile attacks and removal of problem crocodiles. The Journal of Wildlife Management 78, 1239–1249.
| Management of human–crocodile conflict in the Northern Territory, Australia: review of crocodile attacks and removal of problem crocodiles.CrossRef |
General Directorate of Statistics (2010). Census publications. Available at http://www.statistics.gov.tl/category/publications/census-publications/ [Verified 21 May 2015].
Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (2015). Animal production and fisheries. (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, Dili.) Available at http://gov.east-timor.org/MAFF/English/animal_fishers.htm [Verified 21 May 2015].
Jebson, R. (2014). ‘Timor-Leste Tourism Research and Development.’ IADE, NZAid, Irish Aid, BOSS Project & ILO.
Kaiser, H., Carvalho, V. P., Freed, P., and O’Shea, M. (2009). Status report on Crocodylus porosus and human–crocodile interactions in Timor-Leste. In ‘Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter 28’, pp. 12–14. (IUCN SSC Crocodile Specialist Group.) Available at http://www.iucncsg.org/365_docs/attachments/protarea/CSG%20-98fdb736.pdf [Verified 7 June 2016].
Kaiser, H., Carvalho, V. L., and O’Shea, M. (2011). The herpetofauna of Timor-Leste: a first report. ZooKeys 109, 19–86.
| The herpetofauna of Timor-Leste: a first report.CrossRef | 21852932PubMed |
Kaiser, H., Taylor, D., Heacox, C., Landry, P., Sanchez, C., Ribeiro, A. V., de Araujo, L. L., Kathriner, A., and O’Shea, M. (2013). Conservation education in a post-conflict country: five herpetological case studies in Timor-Leste. Salamandra 49, 74–86.
Kirono, D. (2010). Climate change in Timor Leste: a brief overview on future climate projections. CSIRO National Research Flagships, Melbourne.
Lamarque, F., Anderson, J., Ferguson, R., Lagrange, M., Osei-Owusu, Y., and Bakker, L. (2009). Human–wildlife conflict in Africa. Causes, consequences and management strategies. In ‘FAO Forestry Paper 157’. (FAO: Rome.)
Letnic, M., and Connors, G. (2006). Changes in the distribution and abundance of saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) in the upstream, freshwater reaches of rivers in the Northern Territory, Australia. Wildlife Research 33, 529–538.
| Changes in the distribution and abundance of saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) in the upstream, freshwater reaches of rivers in the Northern Territory, Australia.CrossRef |
McWilliam, A. (2002). Timorese seascapes. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 3, 6–32.
| Timorese seascapes.CrossRef |
Mills, D. J., Abernethy, K. A., King, J., Hoddy, E. T., Teoh, S. J., Larocca, P., Gonsalves, D., Fernandes, A., and Park, S. E. (2013). Developing Timor-Leste’s coastal economy: assessing potential climate change impacts and adaptation options. Final report to the Australian Government Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security National Initiative. WorldFish, Penang, Malaysia.
Molyneux, N., da Cruz, G. R., Williams, R. L., Andersen, R., and Turner, N. C. (2012). Climate change and population growth in Timor Leste: implications for food security. Ambio 41, 823–840.
| Climate change and population growth in Timor Leste: implications for food security.CrossRef | 22569843PubMed |
Morris, C. (1984). ‘Ai knananuk ho ai knanoik nousi rai Timor : rai nousi lafaek dukur.’ [Verse and legends from Timor : the land of the sleeping crocodile]. (H. C. Morris: Melbourne.)
Morris, A. (2011). ‘Lalbrik Ho Lafaek (The Boy and the Crocodile).’ (Trojan Press: Melbourne.)
National Statistics Directorate Timor-Leste, Ministry of Finance and ICF Macro (2010) ‘Timor-Leste Demographic and Health Survey 2009–10.’ (NSD and ICF Macro: Dili, Timor-Leste.)
O’Shea, M., Sanchez, C., Kathriner, A., Mecke, S., Lopes Carvalho, V., Varela Ribeiro, A., Afranio Soares, Z., Lemos de Araujo, L., and Kaiser, H. (2015). Herpetological diversity of Timor-Leste: updates and a review of species distributions. Asian Herpetological Research 6, 73–131.
Oxfam (2008). Oxfam Australia Timor-Leste food security baseline survey report. (Oxfam Australia.) Available at http://www.oxfam.org.nz/resources/timor-leste%20food-security-baselinesurvey.pdf [Verified 21 May 2015].
Read, M. A., Grigg, G. C., Irwin, S. R., Shanahan, D., and Franklin, C. E. (2007). Satellite tracking reveals long distance coastal travel and homing by translocated estuarine crocodiles, Crocodylus porosus. PLoS One 2, e949.
| Satellite tracking reveals long distance coastal travel and homing by translocated estuarine crocodiles, Crocodylus porosus.CrossRef | 17895990PubMed |
Sandlund, O., Bryceson, I., Carvalho, D., Rio, N., Silva, J., and Silva, M. (2001). Assessing environmental needs and priorities in East Timor: final report. United Nations Development Programme and Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NIÑA), Trondheim, Norway.
Sideleau, B., and Britton, A. R. C. (2012). A preliminary analysis of worldwide crocodilian attacks. In ‘Crocodiles: Proceedings of the 21st Working Meeting of the IUCN–SSC Crocodile Specialist Group’, 22–25 May 2012, Manila, Philippines. pp. 111–114. (IUCN: Gland, Switzerland.)
Soares, E., and Dooradi, D. (2011). ‘Timor-Leste Communication and Media Survey.’ (UNMIT: Dili, Timor-Leste.)
Somaweera, R., and de Silva, A. (2013). Using traditional knowledge to minimize human–crocodile conflict in Sri Lanka. In ‘Crocodiles; Proceedings of the 22nd Working Meeting of the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group’, 21–23 May 2013, Negombo, Sri Lanka. p. 257. (IUCN: Gland, Switzerland.)
Somoudi, A. (2012). Can tourism in Timor-Leste and Malaysia Sabah afford not to be sustainable? M.Sc. Research Report, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Beppu,
Timor-Leste Ministry of Health (2011). ‘Human Resources for Health Country Profile: Timor-Leste.’ (Ministry of Health (Timor-Leste) and World Health Organization: Dili, Timor-Leste.)
United Nations Development Programme (2014). Human development report. Sustaining human progress: reducing vulnerabilities and building resilience. United Nations Development Programme, New York.
United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste – Joint Mission Analysis Center (2008). Crocodile Assessment. 17 September 2008. United Nations, Dili, Timor-Leste.
United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (2000). Regulation N2000/19 on protected places. Available at http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/past/etimor/untaetR/Reg0019E.pdf [Verified 21 May 2015].
Webb, G. J. W., Manolis, S. C., and Brien, M. L. (2010). Saltwater crocodile Crocodylus porosus. In ‘Crocodiles: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan’, 3rd edn. (Eds S. C Manolis and C. Stevenson.) pp. 99–113. (Crocodile Specialist Group: Darwin, NT.)
World Bank (2008). Policy note on population growth and its implications in Timor-Leste. 9 October 2008. Report number 46681, World Bank, Washington, DC.