MIAMI – The American crocodile, once reduced to a few hundred reclusive species hidden deep in South Florida's Everglades, has made a dramatic comeback in recent years, with a ten-fold increase in the population, according to scientists.
There are now an estimated 1,500 crocodiles, or Crocodylus acutus, living in South Florida, up from several hundred in the 1970s, The Miami Herald reported.
That is compared to the estimated one million alligators living in Florida.
The Herald reported that scientists credit the increase in crocodile numbers to a restoration project that began in the 1980s in which salt water was pumped into an isolated estuary, allowing crocs to grow and mate.
The increase in crocodile numbers in heavily populated southern Florida has also led to a growing number of encounters with people and pets. Last month in Key Largo, a 10-foot crocodile found in a canal killed a 65-pound dog named Roxie, The Herald reported.