Police Response Helps ACES Keep Neighborhoods Safe from Crocodiles
Friday, May 25th, 2012
Submitted by Vince Rose, Animal Behaviorist, ACES
A couple of weeks back, the San Pedro police responded to a croc call in the San Juan area. They drove to Vince and Cherie’s home, founders of ACES (American Crocodile Education Sanctuary) and asked for their assistance. ACES is permitted by the Belize Forest Dept to rescue and handle crocodile conflicts. After setting a culvert trap for an alleged 4ft croc, the first several nights were unsuccessful. About the fifth night of watching and waiting for the mysterious croc, Vince headed back to his golf cart and found an anteater sitting by the tire. Knowing this was not a proper area for an anteater to reside, and noticing blood coming from its tail and how incredibly docile the creature was, Vince decided to bring it home for a health exam by his wife Cherie. The following day it was brought to the Belize Forest Department in Belmopan. The story can be found in the May 10th issue of The San Pedro Sun.
Finally, several nights later, Vince was able to stalk and capture the 6ft croc from the area with a snare trap. Rose commented, “As I was setting up the snare where I had spotted the croc, I noticed the croc had absolutely no fear of me and was actually stalking me as I tried to set my snare. I never did get to finish setting my snare due to the aggressiveness of the croc and finally subdued the croc. Due to the behavior of this croc, if a child were to fall off of the makeshift boardwalks into the water, he may have seriously been injured by the croc”.
ACES held the San Juan croc for a few nights at their home and it was decided as a “first time offender”, it would be released back into the mangroves. “By capturing a first time offender and putting the croc through this stress, it will definitely be more wary and fearful of humans,” stated Vince. So, one simple croc call from the police and the work of ACES not only resulted in relocating a problematic croc to insure the safety of residents in the area, but the rescue of an injured anteater as well.
The American Crocodile is still a threatened species throughout its range and is only found in the Americas. There may be as few as 10,000 left in the world making them as rare as the Polar Bear. ACES is still in need of funding to continue building a wildlife/crocodile holding facility on Ambergris Caye where it would hold problematic crocs or other wildlife while the Belize Forest Department determines it’s fate. As most of you know, ACES was completely destroyed by arson on Sept 5, 2010 by villagers near Punta Gorda. With a donation of $2,650US from the Sarah Lamade White Foundation, ACES will now be able to construct a perimeter fence for our wildlife refuge here on the island but more funding is needed to complete the facility.
ACES would like to thank the San Pedro police for their support, along with many locals and residents of San Pedro for taking part in crocodile conservation.
If you have a problematic crocodile in your area please call Vince at 631-6366. For more information about ACES and to donate please visit their website at www.Americancrocodilesanctuary.org