Special training aided in crocodile capture

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November 13, 2015
Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer Residents of Rae Town in Kingston observe a crocodile that was caught in the fishing village in July.

Ricardo Miller, environmental officer at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), is crediting the recent successful capture of a massive crocodile in Grants Pen, St Thomas, to the expertise of Sergeant Ethan Reid, who had received special training in the handling of crocodiles from his agency.

Sergeant Reid, who is attached to the Morant Bay Police Station, said he and a group of officers across the island were trained by NEPA in 2009.

"We were taken to a safari in Trelawny, where we were taught to catch a wild crocodile and restrain it by tying it to be released in a natural habitat." Reid explained.

He noted that recently his training enabled him to assist his team and residents to capture the over-400-pound creature without harm to residents or the creature.

"We used sticks to summon him to the surface of the canal. We then got a noose around his upper jaw, and he did what is called a death roll, which caused him to be entangled in the rope. With the help of residents, we got him out of the water and covered his eyes, where he became more docile. Then we were able to bind his mouth and tie him up," Reid explained.

The animal was subsequently handed over to environmental officers from NEPA, who released it into a natural habitat.

"The training is very useful, and I believe this is something other officers could benefit from if they are so inclined," Reid said, adding that he has observed an increase in the crocodile population.

But Miller noted that the training exercise was a one-off training session with a group of officers from the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF), who have now merged with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

He, however, conceded there is definitely a need to have more training sessions with police officers and community groups, especially in areas that are hotspots for crocodiles, because it is beneficial to all parties.

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