Car Crash on the Frontlines

Project Mecistops is a gang of croc and conservation enthusiasts from all walks of life – biologists, conservation scientists, zoo personnel and animal keepers, even everyday people exposed to our enthusiasm who now volunteer for the Project. Together we strive to overcome the challenges of biodiversity conservation in West Africa and save the least-known crocodile in the world – the West African slender-snouted crocodile (Mecistops cataphractus) – from certain extinction.

Why we need your help!!

On Wednesday April 11th, on the return from fieldwork in Taï National Park, our work suffered a grave setback.  Whilst making our way through the vast rubber plantations, we came around a blind corner and found ourselves face to face with a villager on his motorbike in our lane.  We swerved to avoid him, and rolled in the process.

We’re sad to report the CrocMobile is now an extinct species! As well as some of our other critical field gear – a boat and motor for crocodile surveys, for example.

We’re lucky to report no serious injuries - materials and cars can be replaced, but the lives of our team and the members of the communities with whom we work are irreplaceable!

The CrocMobile was critical to our activities, getting team members in and out of the field all over Cote d’Ivoire, supporting up and coming crocodile scientists in Ghana, and supplying food for the baby crocodiles we’re raising at the Abidjan National Zoo for reintroduction back into the wild.


Your Impact?

Our commitment to West Africa’s biodiversity remains strong in the face of these challenges!  With your help we can continue our work ensuring these species futures.

Even though the CrocMobile is now an extinct species, the West African slender-snouted crocodile, and other species we champion like pygmy hippos, pangolins, and hinge-backed tortoises still have time!

While daily life and field operational costs are very low and manageable in West Africa, we need your help to secure CrocModile 2.0, replace our damaged boat, and get our teams back in the field.

· Cost of a NEW Replacement Vehicle: $47,000
· Cost of a Replacement Survey Boat: $1,500
· Cost of a Replacement 15hp Yamaha Motor: $3,000


Our fundraising goal is $51,500. All donations surpassing this goal will generously support our amazing field teams and their endeavors for endangered species conservation.

Team member Christine Kouman, one of only two women in the entirety of West Africa working on crocodiles, is marooned in the field while we work this out, and Michel Ahizi is chomping at the bit to get back out there and carry on his work despite his near miss as a passenger in the accident only two days ago!  Both Mathieu Brou’s work with pangolins, and Michel’s work on crocodiles are indefinitely on hold pending transport into the field!

· Christine’s Radio-Tracking Fieldwork: $2,500/month
· Michel’s Surveys for Crocodile Conservation Areas: $1,500/month
· Mathieu’s Pangolin Ecology Field Research: $2,000/month


Rare Species Conservatory Foundation

Project Mecistops has been supported by the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (RSCF) since 2005.  RSCF is a 501(c)3 based in Loxahatchee, Florida, USA.  RSCF employs the “flagship species” concept to identify and conserve high profile, priority species in order to leverage protection for the ecosystems they represent.  Flagship species breeding and conservation efforts, along with field-based research, habitat protection and local capacity building, are directed toward long-term, regional-scale biodiversity preservation.  RSCF designs sustainable recovery, reintroduction and protection programs for endangered species in the wild, and works collaboratively with governments and other conservation/research organizations to restore target species and protect critical habitats.

Our partnership with RSCF ensures that 100% of donations made go directly to this cause!  It also means that your donations are tax deductible!

How else can you help?

1)    Share this campaign on your FB, Twitter, and Instagram homepages!

2)    Call your friends and family, let them know that we need their help to!

3)    Follow our work on social media: Facebook ( and Instagram (#project_mecistops), as well as on our project website (, so you too can become part of the Project Mecistops team!

Donations (0)

  • Laura Dewitte 
    • $15 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 12 mos
  • Romy van Keulen 
    • $15 
    • 12 mos
  • Astrid Wegman 
    • $10 
    • 12 mos
  • D Vw 
    • $15 
    • 12 mos


Matt Shirley 
Loxahatchee, FL
Rare Species Conservatory Foundation 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
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