Biotelemetry monitoring of translocated Crocodylus niloticus in Lake Ngezi, Zimbabwe

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Abstract

Radiotelemetry was used from June 1986 through February 1987 to observe the movements of four Nile crocodiles, Crocodylus niloticus Laurenti, introduced into a resident population at Lake Ngezi, Zimbabwe. The use of surgically-implanted transmitters was the first application of this technique on wild Nile crocodiles. A subadult female (194 cm TL, 35 kg) and two males (256 cm, 81 kg; 348 cm, 260 kg) wandered throughout the area. A large female (297 cm, 149 kg) moved > 12 km from her point of release to Ngezi River and nested; she guarded the nest site through 21 January 1987 when she moved the hatchlings to a nearby creche. A juvenile crocodile (120 cm TL, 8 kg) captured in Lake Ngezi was also monitored from June 1986 to February 1987. It traversed some 15 km of the shoreline of Lake Ngezi and moved as much as 10 km overnight. Evidence is presented that the translocated crocodiles, excluding the nesting female, exhibited exploratory behaviour throughout the nine-month observation period, and did not establish home ranges per se.

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