Crocs could ruin Cayman tourism

I am writing in response to an article on 19 October in the Caymanian Compass regarding the four to six-foot crocodile sighted and confirmed swimming off Seven Mile Beach.

My daughters and I swim in the same stretch of water between Cemetery Beach and the Public Beach, and my two-year old granddaughter is learning to swim in these waters.

My family and many of our friends on the Island are extremely concerned for our safety and are strongly against the Department of Environment’s decision to leave any crocodiles in these waters. We believe that the crocodiles should be captured and exhibited at the Turtle Farm, placed in another secure location, or returned to their native habitat.

In January 2007 a crocodile was found on Grand Cayman and the DoE captured it and returned it to its native location. The police took full control of the situation because the public safety was at risk. Nothing has changed since 2007 – these crocodiles are very dangerous and the DoE’s recent decision to leave them alone makes absolutely no sense.

The longer these crocodiles remain in the waters off Grand Cayman, the more of a chance they will lay eggs and we’ll have a major catastrophe on our hands.

Not only are we extremely concerned for our safety in the waters that we love and have been swimming in for over 20 years, but there is no question that leaving crocodiles in these waters off Seven Mile Beach will lead to the elimination of tourism in Grand Cayman. Tourists on our US Airways flight to Charlotte on Monday were absolutely shocked that the authorities in Grand Cayman had decided to leave a crocodile off Seven Mile Beach, and several of our friends who frequently visit the Caymans have told us that they will be going to Costa Rica instead of the Caymans until these crocodiles are captured.

Leaving this crocodile (or the four-foot crocodile that was just released for the second time near Prospect) swimming off Seven Mile Beach will on its own result in a dramatic decrease in tourism. Any attack by a crocodile (which, we’ve now learned through our research, is more likely than not to occur) will not only be a horrible tragedy (and one that could easily be prevented), but will all but end tourism on the Island. We ask that you and others join us in fighting this decision by the DoE now, before a tragedy occurs.

Ed Norrett