TIDE Relocates Crocodiles for Safety

Several weeks ago TIDE was informed of wild crocodiles living in creeks throughout the Indianville area of Punta Gorda town and we have been working with local residents to relocate them to a safer area. Having crocodiles near your home is certainly undesirable for the safety threat that they pose, but attempting to remove them yourself is even more dangerous and it’s illegal! TIDE is asking residents of Indianville to have patience while we coordinate efforts with the Belize Forest Department and the American Crocodile Education Center (ACES) to remove these crocs, and to report any sightings to TIDE at 722-2274.

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This crocodile was turned in to TIDE and released into the Rio Grande River on 15th February, 2016

Belize is home to two species of crocodile: the saltwater American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) and freshwater Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii), both of which are known locally as alligators (though there are no species of alligator that live in Belize). The American crocodile is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, resulting from decades of hunting and ongoing habitat loss, and both species are protected under the Belize Wildlife Protection Act (Chapter 220). This means it is illegal to hunt, feed, touch, harass or possess any part of a crocodile without a permit.

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An area of Indianville where crocodiles have been spotted—a creek like this and the surrounding vegetation make good habitat for crocs, so stay away!

These crocodiles will generally avoid humans, unless approached directly or if they are fed. Therefore, if you encounter crocodiles near your home, it is best to just avoid them and alert an organization capable of safely removing them as soon as possible (the Belize Forest Department at 822-1524, ACES at 623-7920 or TIDE at 722-2274). It is likely these crocodiles ended up in Indianville accidentally from flooding or were kept as pets and then released when they grew too large, and TIDE is trying its best to return them to where they came from—for their safety and yours!

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TIDE staff collaborate with residents of Indianville to locate the crocodiles

We cannot do this without your help, however! Earlier this week a group of men from Indianville captured one of the crocodiles and brought it to TIDE. We appreciate their decision to turn the crocodile in to us and later that same day we released it in its natural habitat in the Rio Grande. Their actions could have resulted in injury to them or to the crocodile, however, so we urge anyone else who comes across a crocodile to call us immediately with the location, rather than attempt to catch it. For more information on how to safely live with crocodiles, click the link at the end of this page for an informational postern from ACES.

So far, TIDE has successfully relocated one of the Indianville crocodiles and we look forward to working with residents to safely relocate the rest!

Date: February 19, 2016 Author: dwarns
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