Crowdfunding plan to save miniature crocodile

23-Nov-2015

Dr Adam Britton … inviting donors to engage in pygmy crocodile research.


A Charles Darwin University scientist has launched a crowdfunding campaign in a bid to raise vital research dollars for a project to save northern Australia’s pygmy freshwater crocodiles.

Zoologist Dr Adam Britton, from CDU’s Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods, said he needed to raise $11,500 in three weeks for a project to determine how best to arrest the dramatic drop in pygmy crocodile numbers.

“Last time we visited their habitat, four out of five crocodiles had disappeared, having been poisoned by the cane toad,” Dr Britton said.

“The crowdfunding project will allow us to return to the area to find out if there are any signs of population recovery.

“This information is vital for us to know what conservation action to take; for example setting up a captive breeding colony as a type of insurance policy.”

Dr Britton said researchers had a second important motive for returning to the two known habitats of the pygmy crocodile, which includes the upstream escarpments of Bullo River Station.

“An analysis of DNA samples gathered a few years ago was sufficiently different from standard freshwater crocodiles to catch our attention,” he said.

“We were quite excited about the results, because it raised some very interesting questions about how these tiny crocodiles came to be as they are.

“We’d like to gather more tissue samples to further explore just how unique these tiny little crocodiles could be if our hypothesis is correct. Pygmy crocodiles might make a bigger splash than their size implies.”

Dr Britton said the rewards-based crowdfunding campaign on the Pozible platform offered the online public an opportunity to engage with researchers and make a big difference to these tiny crocodiles.

“The greater the investment, the greater the reward,” he said.

“At the high end, we’re offering one donor an opportunity to join the research team on a personal wild crocodile tour where they will spend a day diving safely with Smaug, a five-metre saltwater crocodile.

“We are also offering silver jewellery, a limited run of a unique piece of crocodile art, a bound print copy of the research report, and access to blog reports among the incentives, depending on the value of the donation.”

View the “Tiny toothies – saving pygmy crocs” crowdfunding website at
W: http://www.pozible.com/dwarfcroc