Scientific Name : Crocodylus porosus
Common Names: Throughout much of its range the common names used for this species reflect a supposed habitat predilection for saltwater and estuarine habitats. Thus it is known as the Saltwater and Estuarine Crocodile. In the Philippines this species is common in freshwater and we prefer a common name that reflects its large range, the Indo-Pacific, and not a false habitat association.
This species is the most widely distributed of all living crocodilians being widespread throughout all the tropical areas of the Asia and Pacific regions wherever there is suitable habitat and it has not been extirpated by man. It is known from islands of the Indian Ocean, coastal India and Sri Lanka, through mainland Southeast Asia, the Indonesian and Philippine islands, northern Australia and New Guinea, the Belau islands and possibly even Fiji.
In the Philippines it was the common crocodile being found in almost all rivers, major lakes and marshlands, and coastal areas. It was primarily found in freshwater habitats and estuarine situations.
Size: Up to lengths of 7 meters. An Indopacific Crocodile of 6 meters was recently caught in North Cotabato and another of over 5 meters in Zamboanga. This species grows to sufficiently large size that it is known to be a predator on humans.
Status: This species in parts of its range such as northern Australia and New Guinea is actively being managed in the wild and is not considered endangered. However in the Philippines it is in imminent danger of extinction and is extremely rare. The Philippine population is listed as an Appendix One species of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered and Threatened Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) which regulates all trade in this species.
Commercial Status: This species is being farmed commercially throughout much of its range including the Philippines. It has one of the most prized skins of all crocodilians owing to fewer bony plates on the side and an intricate pattern of belly scales. These are characteristics in high demand by European fashion houses. In the Philippines there are more than 6,000 Indo-Pacific Crocodiles on farms and sales of skins and products under both national and international permits will soon occur. The commercial crocodile industry in the Philippines has extreme growth potential as crocodiles can be used for converting unhygienic “double-dead” meats into a cash commodity thus saving livestock growers from paying for the destruction of unwanted meats and at the same time producing a valuable dollar earning commodity for foreign trade.
Distribution maps image source: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu