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#299536 - 09/19/08 10:08 AM Croc “George” Retires at 25
Marty Offline
Press Release – American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) – September 16th, 2008 –
The Water Plant Lagoon’s resident crocodiles will surely miss their faithful main attraction. Known as ‘George’ by the locals, this 13 foot American Crocodile retired this past Sunday and relocated to ACES/American Crocodile Education Sanctuary in southern Belize. There George will live out the remainder of his life in a peaceful, safe habitat where he still can see children and teach people about crocodiles, but in a safe environment both for himself and humans.
George decided that at his age, he needed to start caring more about his health and slim down a bit with a proper diet and professional care. See, frozen thawed chicken is not a natural food source for crocodiles and does not provide any of the proper nutrients a croc needs to live a healthy life. Such an improper diet can cause gout, diabetes, and heart disease in crocodiles just as in humans. Severely overweight and just plain sick and tired of frozen chicken, George was starting to eye up those tasty little tourists that were being readily made available for him at the illegal croc feeding shows. It was only a matter of time before he would decide to take a bite. Nearly half of all humans killed by Crocodilians are children under the age of twelve. And, forty percent of crocodiles killed after they attack have unnatural food in their guts…meaning they were being fed by humans. Fed crocs lose their fear of man and learn to associate man with food, making them both dangerous and easier targets for poachers.

George spent his dedicated years as an apex predator in the lagoon area playing a vital role in maintaining a healthy, wetland mangrove habitat. Crocodiles like George keep down small mammal populations, such as rats and raccoons; as nest builders, they dig holes aerating the soil and carefully construct nests from vegetation which over the years adds land to mangrove areas and when their nests break down into peat, a moisture-absorbing plant matter that acts as a natural fire retardant; they control non-game-fish populations, such as catfish and eels, which otherwise would overpopulate and decimate resources for game-fish; when they travel from one place to the next over land, their heavy bodies make trails through the mangrove that are important for water flow; and they dig croc-holes to stay cool in during dry season which also provide refuge for crabs, fish and turtles. Perfectly adapted to their environment, these millions of years old modern day dinosaurs are truly happiest when they are just left alone to do those things crocodiles do.

George wishes for the rest of the lagoon crocodiles that they are able to remain there in their natural wetland homes for the rest of their lives feeding on natural food sources, primarily fish and not have to relocate south to retire as he did. He hopes that the people of San Pedro begin to understand that tourists do not come to their beautiful island to see crocodiles being fed. They can see that at their local zoos in a safe environment. People would rather just observe crocodiles’ natural behaviors in their natural habitat from a safe distance. George desires that the local feeders who consider themselves croc experts quit harming the crocs in the lagoon with bad diets, quit putting unsuspecting tourists and their children in harms way, and instead educate themselves on crocodile facts which they can then share with tourists once they obtain their required Tour Guide License. Licensed guides can contact ACES for training seminars on proper wildlife viewing and crocodilian education.

Finally, George would to thank all those who helped make his early retirement possible including the Belize Forest Department, Sysco, Tyrone of Tropic Air, Rick’s Hanger Café, The San Pedro Sun, San Pedro Police Department, Rite Way Construction, the Liquor Box, Moncho’s, Roberto Castillo from Day Tripper Tours, Duke’s Marina and especially ACES. ACES is a non-profit organization committed to conserving Belize’s critical habitats and protected species through scientific research and education in order to preserve Belize’s wildlife for future generations. George’s blood may even someday provide the cure for HIV and Herpes. For more information about ACES please visit our website at: http://www.americancrocodilesanctuary.org.

After the Belize Forestry Department deemed George a danger to people and suffering from poor health, they enlisted the help of the ACES team to relocate the croc from the WASA Lagoon south of San Pedro to the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary in Punta Gorda. Although the 13 foot, 600lb croc did not surrender to “retirement” without a fight he was successfully captured and relocated without incident.

Unlike most wild crocs that are naturally afraid of people, George has been conditioned to associate man with food from years of being illegally fed as a local tourist attraction. Easily lured within the catch zone by a chicken tied to a rope, George did not suspect what was in store for him.

Estimated to be 25 years old, George is missing the last two feet of his tail (apparently chopped off), several fingernails, scarred from an old bullet wound and over weight from years of eating frozen chicken. Life at his new home at the ACES sanctuary will ensure his health as well as the safety of the San Pedro community.

After carefully securing George in ropes, duct tape and net, the croc is “packaged” for transport to Punta Gorda.

Here George is released into his new habitat where he will live with several other crocs, one being “Debbie” who was relocated from San Pedro in July 2008. He is adapting well to his new home and if his heath can be maintained he could live to be 70 years old!


#299605 - 09/19/08 02:07 PM Re: Croc “George” Retires at 25 [Re: Marty]
Barbara K Offline
Finally! Good news. Let's keep this "tourist attraction" shut down.

#299621 - 09/19/08 02:57 PM Re: Croc “George” Retires at 25 [Re: Marty]
chunkyruth Offline
Good luck in your new home George!

I so hope that this FINALLY puts the kibosh on the illegal croc fishing that has been going on at WASA for so many years. I've always been so disappointed when efforts to curb this activity have failed. Everyone keep your fingers crossed that croc fishing will be a thing of the past!!!

#315273 - 12/19/08 11:04 AM Re: Croc “George” Retires at 25 [Re: chunkyruth]
Marty Offline
UPDATE, 12/19/08

Where Broken Crocs Go

You may remember George the crocodile. We introduced you to him back in August. He’s a 13 foot American crocodile that lived in the San Pedro Lagoon and had become a popular tourist attraction. That’s because George was fed and overfed by San Pedro residents – which can be entertaining for tourists but poses a deadly threat to the whole community – because once a croc loses his fear of human’s anything is game for them.

So in July he was removed from the lagoon and relocated to Aces – the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary in Punta Gorda. It may sound harmless but for a croc like George who was fed raw whole chickens everyday – it’s like being in croc prison; he’s on a strict diet and a confined area. He joins 16 other crocs at the aces sanctuary which is the only place to keep crocodiles that have become dangerously familiar with human beings. We stopped in for a visit this weekend and found out about the work they do and where George fits in. Owner and developer of the sanctuary Vincent Rose says saving the lives of crocodiles is what it’s all about.

Vincent Rose, ACES

“We saved them from death. All these crocodiles would have been shot or killed because of man interfering with their lives. Your having them as or

illegally feeding them is making them a danger to humans.”

Jules Vasquez,

Why does feeding crocodiles make them dangerous?

Vincent Rose,

“They are not the smartest animals, they have a very small brain, their brain is about the size of their eyeball. When they begin to associate food with man, it is over; they believe all men have food or can be food and a crocodile would definitely take a small child after it has been fed by humans.”

Jules Vasquez,

Tell us about George.

Vincent Rose,

“George came from Ambergris. There were kids, generation after generation, feeding this animal 15 to 20 frozen chickens a night for tourism. They didn’t have a license, they didn’t have tourism license, they didn’t have a permit from the Forestry Department – it was all being done illegally. The animal is dangerous, has tried to bite me several times so ACES works with the Forestry Department and when there is a problematic crocodile, we work with them under their authority and we go relocate the animal to a safe place which is ACES.”


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