Crocodilians are the closest surviving relatives of the great dinosaurs. They have changed very little during the 150 million years that they have lived on Earth.

The Nile Crocodile and Humans

Crocodile ┬ęGeof Wilson CC BY-ND 2.0Crocodiles were revered by the ancient Egyptians but nowadays they are generally regarded as ugly, fearsome and dangerous creatures. Relentless hunting has severely reduced a lot of crocodilians. As of 2014, 7 of the 23 crocodile species were listed as critically endangered and 4 were listed as vulnerable.

The main reason for the over-hunting of crocodilians is the demand for their skins, which may be made into handbags, shoes, brief cases etc. During the 1950s some 5 - 10 million Nile crocodiles a year were killed for their skins.

Another threat to the crocodiles is destruction of their habitat - drainage of wetlands, clearance of riverside forests, trampling of nesting sites by cattle - have all reduced suitable habitat. Yet another problem is the use of new types of fishing nets called gill nets, in which crocodiles can become entangled and drown.

Read More: The Future?

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