Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) attacks in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Brandon Sideleau, Tamen Sitorus, Dadang Suryana, Adam Britton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are extensively distributed throughout South-east Asia, including the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara (ENT), and they account for hundreds of attacks on people annually. Recorded incidents not only tell us where crocodiles are found (useful when survey data are limited), but importantly can improve our understanding of causal factors to better address risk. We compiled public attack records for ENT on humans from 2009 to 2018 using an online database of incidents (CrocBITE), then worked closely with government representatives to visit human-crocodile conflict (HCC) hot spots, where some unreported attack records were collected, and local attitudes towards crocodiles could be assessed. Of the 100 attacks we compiled, 60% were fatal incidents. Most victims were male (84%) and most attacks (75%) occurred during fishing. West Timor had the highest proportion of attacks (70%). Cultural attitudes towards crocodiles were found to be generally positive throughout ENT, similar to neighbouring Timor-Leste, although recent media stories appear to have introduced some negative beliefs and fears. We recommend that resources and training are made available to improve local crocodile knowledge, including habitat surveys in proximity to conflict areas, plus community-based education where the risk of crocodile attack is high.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9333574
Pages (from-to)978-986
Number of pages9
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number7
Early online date8 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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