Crocodilian populations declined globally during the 20th century because of overhunting and habitat loss. Some crocodilian populations recovered over the past 50 yr through legal protections and habitat restoration, but the statuses of many populations are poorly known. The status of the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) population in the Dominican Republic (DR) is currently unknown because the last countrywide surveys were done in the 1980s. We carried out population surveys in DR during May–July 2021 in areas where C. acutus has been observed historically to provide an updated population status. Our surveys yielded no crocodile sightings in northwestern DR, suggesting that crocodiles have been extirpated or nearly extirpated from this area. Our surveys of Lago Enriquillo in southwestern DR produced 120 crocodile sightings over 72.6 km of shoreline, for an overall encounter rate of 1.65 crocodiles/km and nonhatchling encounter rate of 1.40 crocodiles/km. Encounter rates were very high in the main nursery area of the lake (La Azufrada; 60.0 crocodiles/km) and much lower elsewhere. Our C. acutus sightings were composed of 18 (15%) hatchlings, 45 (37.5%) juveniles, 12 (10%) subadults, and 32 (26.7%) adults, and we were unable to estimate size for 13 (10.8%) individuals. During 2021 nest surveys, we only located 42 nests in Lago Enriquillo. Our data suggest the DR population of C. acutus is critically endangered and is continuing to decline because of pressure from hunting, fishing, and habitat destruction caused by both anthropogenic factors and natural lake level fluctuations.

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