Check up on Costa’s predators

This is in response to a letter posted on 26 October by Ed Norrett about the DOE’s decision to release a captured crocodile.

Mr. Norrett, ever since I was a little boy, I have had a special affinity and respect for predators of all sorts, marine and land based. This fascination has inspired me to experience some of the most misunderstood marine creatures in their natural habitat and has led me through many memorable experiences.

I have been scuba diving exposed within proximity to schools of 12-foot hammerhead sharks numbering in the hundreds, as well as Great White sharks in South Africa, but one of the most notable was the chance to observe 15-foot saltwater crocodiles in Northern Australia.

I witnessed the drop in water sports tourism levels in Cayman after Steve Irwin got himself skewered by a Stingray in Australia and yet, it certainly didn’t destroy the industry. The general reaction by the uneducated public was that the same species of Stingray that proliferate in Cayman were responsible for his death, and it took a great effort on the part of all the local water sports operators and a lot of time to rebuild the reputation of the harmless rays that have been interacting with curious tourists for decades.

If someone were to be attacked by a local crocodile, it’s difficult to imagine that it would lead to a total loss of all tourism.

I could regurgitate all sorts of statistics and explain predatory natural behaviour to you, but having engaged in conversations about man vs. natural predator on numerous occasions, I realise how futile it is to the ‘Jaws generation’. What I will say to you is this.

One. Whether you are a swimmer, scuba diver or surfer, you are personally accepting a risk every time you step foot into any body of water in the world. Possibly you are bothered by the fact that you cannot sue a crocodile that decides to inflict bodily harm, but spreading baseless paranoia to everyone you meet to teach the Cayman DoE a lesson is an asinine solution!

Two. Apparently you are oblivious to the fact that for over 20 years, you and your family have been swimming in a sea that contains potentially dangerous stingrays, eels and sharks without incident. Maybe that’s because you have yet to experience or hear of any negative interaction in Cayman involving any of these creatures.

So since you and your Charlotte friends are leaning towards a Costa Rica vacation, maybe you should put your profound research skills to good use and read up on the Fer-de-lance, Scorpions, jaguars, Eyelash Vipers, Poisonous Dart Frogs, Zancudo Mosquitos, Chagas Bugs, Bullet Ants and crocodiles (that are physically much larger and in far greater numbers) that are commonly found in your new holiday destination before choosing to make the switch!

Jaden Knight

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