November 20, 2014
CASCADE, Jamaica (AP) - Crocodiles were once so abundant along the salty rim of southern Jamaica that images of their toothy jaws and spiny armor crown the tropical island's coat of arms and are stenciled on the bumpers of military vehicles.
Now, the big reptiles are increasingly difficult to spot, and not just because they blend into swampy backgrounds. These days, a growing taste for crocodile meat and even eggs in Jamaica has conservationists worried that the reptiles might be wiped from the wild altogether, although they've been protected by law since 1971.
Crocs have steadily reclaimed their range in Florida, their only U.S. habitat, after rebounding from the edge of extinction. But experts believe the reptiles may be reaching a tipping point in economically struggling Jamaica.
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