The historical and prehistorical occurrences of the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces, South Africa, are poorly known. This can lead to confusion in the conservation policy and management of protected areas because it is uncertain where it might be appropriate to reintroduce or conserve the species. The problem is confounded because the recorded information is summarized in two sources that are hard to access. This information is examined and discussed. It shows that, historically, living crocodiles were seen or killed on the coast as far south as 32°18′S; 28°50′E, in the Dwesa State Forest, Eastern Cape, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, there are museum specimens of skulls and teeth collected from localities farther south, between the mouths of the Keiskamma and the Keurbooms Rivers. These are probably of widely different ages, but older than the historical era beginning in the 16th century. There is no information on their geological or archaeological provenance. This suggests that the species' range limits expanded and contracted at least once through approximately 2°of latitude before the historical period. The former government of Transkei reintroduced the species to the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve in c. 1980. There is no evidence to suggest that it would be appropriate to reintroduce crocodiles south or westward of this population.
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Vol. 40 • No. 2