Once widely hunted for its commercial value, the crocodile became so depleted that it was listed as an endangered species. New laws and trading regulations have helped the Nile crocodile recover, but illegal hunting remains a threat to its viability, as does habitat destruction from irrigation projects and human population expansion.
To benefit both the crocodile and local communities, Alison Leslie from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa is introducing villagers to captive breeding and crocodile ranching. Capturing and transporting the animals are some of the first lessons taught. Leslie proposes returning some of the captive-bred crocodiles to the wild, while selling the skins from others. The skins can be worth as much as $200 to $300. That substantial sum of money could quickly turn species predation into species preservation in many African countries.