A crocodile type reptile caught in the Shores in West Bay earlier this week is now safely in the hands of the Department of Environment.
Marine Enforcement officer with the DoE Mark Orr said it was sighted by two joggers in a small canal that feeds a shallow pond. The small canal feeds in from the sea.
The joggers called 911 on sighting the croc and the DoE was then called in.
‘I went there and confirmed that it was crocodile looking animal,’ said Mr. Orr who then tried to catch it in a net but didn’t have much luck.
He called in the help of his brother Richard Orr and another helper, Mark Myer, to try to capture the four foot croc.
With the help of a kayak they chased it into the mangroves, got a snare over it and pulled it out, pinned it down and taped up its mouth and feet before being removed by the DoE.
The DoE is trying to identify its species of origin. It could be a young or adult croc depending on the species, Mr. Orr said.
They are sending photos and DNA overseas to an expert on crocodiles and alligators.
Once a proper ID has been done, they will make a decision what to do with the croc, he said.
‘If it’s a purebred we’d likely try to return it to where it came from,’ he said.
This latest sighting of a crocodile in the Cayman Islands is the third reported case in three years.
A crocodile that was captured in Cayman waters in December 2006 ended up becoming a permanent display animal at Boatswain’s Beach
After the stray crocodile was captured in the area of Old Man Bay, the original aim of the Department of Environment had been to source the animal’s population of origin and to send it back where it belongs.
But it turned out that the animal was a hybrid of crocodile species and repatriation of a hybrid into the wild would usually be regarded as undesirable from a nature conservation perspective, as it might have the potential to interbreed with other species.
A couple of months ago another crocodile was sighted in Little Cayman but it swam away before anyone could get to it.
The reason the most recent crocodile was caught was because there were lots of small children around the area and Mr. Orr felt it should be removed before there was any panic, and for its own safety.
The crocodile captured in December 2006 had been injured by a spear gun shot.
Mr. Orr said that crocodiles are considered endangered species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and he noted that Cayman is still included in the official range of these reptiles, which spreads from Cuba to South America.
He said that because the recent sightings have been fairly random they have treated them on a case by case basis, but if crocodile sightings become more regular, a decision would have to be made on a policy regarding them.
‘Right now sightings are fairly random,’ he said.