Zimbabwe has benefited from crocodile ranching programmes that have worked as an incentive for conversation of the reptiles, according to a new report.
According to the latest World Wild Life Report released in Panama last week by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the production of luxury leather from the harvest and trade of Nile crocodiles (also known as Crocodylus niloticus) in Zimbabwe and Kenya have not only resulted in positive impacts on the crocodile conservation, but also other species.
For instance, Nile crocodile numbers in the lower Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe, started declining in the early 2000s, from 3 559 to 2,214 in 2004 due to a combination of habitat destruction affecting crocodile breeding areas and killing as a result of the human-crocodile conflict.
Similarly in Tana County, Kenya, crocodiles were perceived as dangerous predators and regularly killed through poisoning.
The report observed that a lack of livelihood options was driving significant hunting and poaching of other species.
In both areas, crocodile ranching programmes were established to generate incentives for crocodile conservation, and livelihood benefits for local people. The programmes also had the effect of decreasing poaching pressure on other sympatric species – including small antelope and other common species poached for bushmeat and also commercially valuable species such as elephants poached for income.
The first-ever World Wildlife Trade Report gives insights and analysis into the global trade in animals and plants that are regulated under this international treaty.
CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora that regulates trade in nearly 40 000 species, worldwide.
According to the report, annual revenue generated by the global legal trade in wildlife averaged US$220 billion per year since 2026