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December 14, 2012
Star News


 

Man lives with crocodile

Animal removed after authorities were contacted

SHELDON WILLIAMS, STAFF REPORTER

A six-foot crocodile that was rescued from the wild and was living with its human rescuer in his bedroom in Portmore, St Catherine, has been returned to its rightful habitat following intervention from the necessary authorities.

THE WEEKEND STAR understands that the reptile was living with the man for as long as a week in his bedroom in Hellshire, much to the disapproval of his mother who later instructed him to remove it from their house.

Pamela Lawson, managing director of The Jamaican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told our news team that when her office was made aware of the reptile's presence in the man's bedroom, she was expecting a baby crocodile.

"When he rescued it, it was already six feet, that's why I don't understand why he took it to his yard," she expressed in amazement.

She said that when the reptile was brought to her office three months ago, she went outside to retrieve it but was left speechless and in awe when she realised that the mode of transport for the reptile was a bus.

It was then she realised that the crocodile was bigger than she had expected. "It took three of us to lift it," she admitted.

Lawson said she immediately questioned the rescuer's rationale for housing such a massive crocodile. "He said he rescued it from other persons and took it home," she said.

Interestingly, Lawson pointed out that for safety reasons, the young man had bound the reptiles mouth and tail.

When quizzed about the feeding of the reptile during its stay in the house, she said it was not fed but explained that the species is able to survive a while without food. "He didn't feed it but they don't eat as frequently as we do.When they eat, they consume a large quantity, and that's it."

She also pointed out that, "reptiles don't make as much mess because they're cold blooded animals unlike mammals,".

The crocodile was later handed over to the National Environment and Planning Agency(NEPA) as it is illegal for anyone to accommodate wildlife animals in that context.

A media release on the website of NEPA confirmed the illegality of human interaction with crocodiles. According to the release, the agency is appealing to members of the public not to provoke crocodiles. These are sensitive animals which may react dangerously if cornered and attacked.

Crocodiles are one of Jamaica's many endangered animal species and are protected by law. Capturing or killing the animal is an offence under the Wild Life Protection Act. Persons found guilty of this offence are liable to a fine of up to $100,000 or 12 months' imprisonment.

The public is also being advised that there is no payment for the apprehension or recovery of a crocodile. If crocodiles are seen in areas where they may pose threats to human activities, kindly call NEPA at 754-7540 or 1-888-991-5005. You may also call 119 or the nearest police station.

THE WEEKEND STAR was unable to contact the rescuer.

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