Updated 10:51 PM EST, Fri, Jan 28, 2022

Mexico to Fine Wildlife Company for Fatal Suffocation of 124 Crocodiles

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Mexico's environmental authorities will fine a wildlife company for the fatal suffocation of 124 crocodiles in a transport truck.

The wildlife firm Cocodrilos Exoticos, which is based in the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo, could be fined up to $193,000, according to the environmental prosecutor's office, AFP reported (via Yahoo! News). The reptiles belonged to the 350 Morelet's crocodiles from another farm, Cocodrilos Mexicanos, which is situated in the northwestern city of Culiacan, Sinaloa's capital.

The 124 crocodiles died because of the irregularities in their handling during the length cross-country transfer from Sinaloa to the Yucatán Peninsula, according to EFE (via Fox News Latino).

Inspectors found that 124 of the 350 crocodiles were lifeless when they arrived at the Cocodrilia wildlife conservation facility in Chetumal, a Caribbean coast town, AFP further reported. Sinaloa and Chetumal have 2,550 kilometers (1,580 miles) between them.

The crocodiles "presumably died from suffocation and being crushed during the trip," the statement added, as reported by AFP. The prosecutor's office has released photographs showing the large truck and a set of dead crocodiles lying on the ground, including one with its neck twisted.

Federal police stopped the truck for inspection when it reached the central state of Guanajato, but permitted it to continue its passage after not detecting any anomalies, EFE noted.

The Profepa environmental agency said in a statement that the wildlife company will be fined for not ensuring the "dignified and respectful" management of the crocodiles, which is a violation of Mexico's General Wildlife Law, the news outlet added.

The Cocodrilia conservation site obtained about 5,000 crocodiles from the Cocodrilos Mexicanos, the farm in Sinaloa, AFP wrote.

Mexico Improves Crocodile Population

Mexico has conducted conservation efforts to boost the crocodile population in the country.

Wildlife Conservation Management Units, also known as UMAS, is responsible for the recovery of the Morelets crocodile, or Mexican crocodile, Mexico News Daily reported last September. The species was in risk of extinction due to the loss of their habitat, as well as hunting in the 1940s to 50s.

Now, the crocodiles' population has bounced back at a healthy rate in Campeche, Chiapas, Colima, San Luis Potosí, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Quintana Roo, Yucatán, and Veracruz, the news outlet listed.

Conservation efforts are focused entirely on maintaining the wild population, Mexico News Daily noted. Farm crocodiles are the source of products like oil, meat, and leather, which is used to make bags, shoes, belts, and wallets, among others. Farm crocodiles' organs are also used to manufacture pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, as well as their oil, which can treat respiratory problems when used as an alternative medication.

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