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September 21, 2013
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NEPA warns against capturing and eating crocodiles

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is advising persons who capture crocodiles for consumption to desist from this illegal practice or face prosecution.

Speaking at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank held on September 17, NEPA Environ-mental Officer Monique Curtis said it is illegal to interfere with or be in possession of any part of the animal that is an endangered species and is protected under Jamaica's Wildlife Protection Act.

Curtis was commenting on recent reports in the press that stated that there had been an increase in the consumption of crocodile meat at various social events in the country.

The penalty for capturing the animals, harming them, or having any part of the creature in one's possession, living or dead, is $100,000 and/or a prison term of up to two years.

Curtis is urging persons to stay away from the animals, pointing out that they serve a useful purpose by helping to clean Jamaica's marine system and providing benefits for the ecosystem.

"They serve a purpose in our marine ecosystems. Being scavengers, they help with the health of our marine systems, which impacts the fish that we like to eat in Jamaica," she said.

Curtis is encouraging persons to call NEPA if they have information about the animal being consumed or persons having them as pets.

"We do have information floating around in the media, in society, but when it comes to reporting it to the authorities so that action can be taken against the individual, it never happens, and the authorities cannot do anything about it," she said.

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