Philippine Crocodile (Crocodilus mindorensis), FMNH catalogue no. 19891. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. Conservation status: critically endangered. Crocodilus mindorensis is the most enadangered crocodilian species apart from the Chinese alligator. Commercial exploitation and loss of habitat to agriculture are the main reasons that there are the primary reasons for the massive decline of this species to an estimated 200 individuals. The species is small compared to the Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), the largest reptile in the world, known to attack humans. The ranges of the two species overlap and as forests are cleared for rice cultivation, human contact is inevitable and local tolerance for any crocodiles is very low. The smaller species suffers as a result.
As biologists describe new species and add to our understanding of the interrelated nature of life on Earth, a species becomes extinct every 20 minutes (100 to 1000 times the background extinction rate as seen in the fossil record). Collections in natural history museums play important roles in conservation, education and research. Most of that work and the associated specimens are not on public display in museumsÃ¢€š typically, less than five percent of specimens are exhibited.