They are once classified in the Genus Crocodylus (Crocodylus cataphractus), until MeAliley et al., (2000), reported that, they are different species and should be categorized in the Genus Mecistops (Shirley, 2010). The West Africa crocodile and the Central Africa crocodile are once recognized as a single species until a study reveal in 2018, that both species are distinct, hence, the Central Africa Crocodile is classified as Mecistops leptorhynchus as reported by Nationalgeographic.com in an article published on October 24, 2018, by Douglas Main: “New crocodile species found hiding in plain sight”, however, both species are critically endangered. They are reported to be a very vocal animal (Anoah et al., 2019, Shirley, 2010). Luiselli et al. (2000) reported that the West African crocodile is extinct, while, the Central Africa crocodile is critically endangered, however, report in Ghana noted that, there are rare sightings of the West Africa Crocodile. Their young ones feed on small fish and a variety of invertebrates, while their Adults are mainly Piscivorous and feed on mammals occasionally (Anoah et al., 2019, Shirley, 2010). The animal is reported to be shy and susceptible to human disturbance (IUCN).
Some people believe that the animal is bulletproof, this is completely false, as reported in Quora, and nature lovers The back of a crocodile could withstand one or two to three-shot that is poor aim at her, but not completely bulletproof, also, the crocodile has been known to weep (tears) because they have tear ducts, which they use to lubricate their eyes when they are out of water for a long time, hence, they do not shed tears for emotional attachment as Human.
They are found in forested rivers, densely vegetated bodies of water (preferably freshwater lagoon), or in sparsely vegetated Savannah woodland (Shirley, 2010). They are mound nesting (Anoah et al., 2019) and reported have a preference for cacao and rubber plantation according to IUCN.
TREAT INCLUDES: Habitat loss and deformation due to anthropogenic factors, illegal hunting by fishermen and for her skin, report by IUCN, stated that the animal was hunted for her skin due to the decline population of the Nile crocodile, and local believe or perception of the animal (some local see it as a dangerous animal and when sighted should be killed immediately
WHAT IF, THE ANIMAL GO INTO EXTINCTION?
Sadly, West African Crocodile might have gone into extinction, however, they play an immense role in the ecosystem, which includes: Feeding on the most common fish and ill fish in their habitat (Pleog et al, 2011) thereby, regulating the population of fish and maintain food chain, the animal fecal excreta serves as fertilizers to green plants in their habitat (Pleog et al, 2011) and they help maintain the structure of their habitat (i.e. the depth and size of the body of water) as reported by Wikipedia.
THE LOSS OF THIS WONDERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL SPECIES IS A DISASTER
THE WEEDS AND GRASSES IN OUR HOME OR FARMS BEGAN TO GROW UNCONTROLLABLE, WITH NO MEANS OF REGULATING THEM
SEVERAL THINGS WILL BE AFFECTED, WHICH INCLUDES: AN UNPLEASANT ENVIRONMENT, LOSS OF SOME UNIQUE PLANTS WHOM COULD NOT COMPETE WITH THE DOMINANT PLANT (WEED), INTRODUCTION AND INCREASE IN UNWANTED INSECT PEST ETC.
THE LOSS OF THIS ANIMAL, IS A DEFEAT IN DISGUISE AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING, as we may their habitat which will have contributed to the fight against global warming
Scientific Name : Mercistop cataphratus (Cuvier, 1825)
IUCN STATUS: Critically endangered as listed by IUCN 2013, reportedly extinct in Nigeria
Geographical location: They are found within West Africa and a close species in Central Africa
Species: Crocodylus cataphractus (MeAliley, 2000)
Shirley, M.H. (2010). Slender-snouted Crocodile cataphratus. Crocodile specialist group, crocodile, status survey and conservation action plan. Third edition (Pp: 54-58)
Anoah, E., Gray, C.L., Gumbs, R. (2019). A survival blueprint for the conservation and management of the West Africa slender-snouted crocodile, Mecistops cataphratus in the Jimi River (Obuasi) and Tano River (Tanoso), Ghana. An output from the Edge of existence fellowship, Zoological society of London.
Pleog, J.V., Cureg, M.C., Weerd, M.V. and Persoon, G. (2011). Why must we protect crocodile? Explaining the value of the Philippine crocodile to rural communities. Journal of integrative Enviromental science. 8(4). Doi: 10.1080/1943815X.2011.610804.
Luiselli, L., Politano, E. and Akanni, G.C. (2000). Crocodile distribution in S.E Nigeria, part II. Specialist group newsletter. 19(1). 6-7.
McAliley, R.L., Willis, R.E., Ray, D.A., While, S.P., Brochu, C.P. and Densmore, L.D. (2006). Are crocodile really monophyletic? Evidence for subdivisions from sequence and morphological data. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution. 39(1): 16-32