Orinoco crocodile

1920 CE - 1950 CEOrinoco River

"There were once millions of Orinoco crocodiles living along the banks of the great river, which gave them their name, and its tributaries in Venezuela and eastern Colombia. But the fearsome animals were nearly done in by fashion. They were hunted almost to extermination from the 1920s to the 1950s to feed a worldwide demand for crocodile-skin boots, coats, handbags and other items. Today, biologists estimate that there are only about 1,500 Orinoco crocodiles left in the wild, nearly all of them in Venezuela." Reaching lengths up to 22 feet, the Orinoco crocodile is a critically endangered species that makes its home in the lagoons of the Orinoco river basin. Feeding on a wide variety of river wildlife, they play a critical role in balancing and maintaining the ecosystem. 

William Neuman and Paula Ramón, "Venezuela’s Fitful Effort to Save a Scaly Predator," New York Times, December 25, 2013.  "ORINOCO CROCODILE," Animalia.

Image: Fernando Flores via Flickr, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)