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Science and conservation of Amazonian crocodilians: a historical review
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems  (IF3.254),  Pub Date : 2021-03-01, DOI: 10.1002/aqc.3541
Boris Marioni, José António L. Barão‐Nóbrega, Robinson Botero‐Arias, Fábio Muniz, Zilca Campos, Ronis Da Silveira, William E. Magnusson, Francisco Villamarín

  1. Crocodilians represent one of the oldest extant vertebrate lineages. They have co‐existed with humans throughout the Amazon basin for thousands of years, often having a strong cultural and economic influence on people's lives. Shifts in the socio‐economic and political reality of the Amazon basin during the last century have led crocodilian populations to face large variations in their numbers according to different levels of exploitation and strategies for their conservation.
  2. This article reviews the scientific knowledge obtained between 1945 and 2019 on the biology, conservation and management for the four Amazonian crocodilian (caiman) species (Caiman crocodilus, Melanosuchus niger, Paleosuchus palpebrosus and Paleosuchus trigonatus). It provides a general overview on past and current population status and research efforts involving caimans in the Amazon basin and discusses perspectives for the future.
  3. The most significant studies on the ecology, genetics and management strategies are examined in more detail and this information is contextualized to provide an overview of the most relevant findings that might explain caiman population trends over the last 75 years.
  4. Systems for sustainable management in the Amazon basin have been discussed for the past 20 years, but remain rarely applicable. It is necessary to develop new ways to maintain healthy caiman populations through innovative management programmes. Sustainable harvesting of wildlife has been shown to promote conservation targets, especially those initiatives based on community co‐management. In this article, we propose some general guidelines for future management schemes, in the expectation that the information provided by the scientific community will be considered fully without political agendas determining the priorities.