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#393641 - 11/27/10 01:00 PM ACES Crocodile Chronicles
Marty Offline
Submitted by Cherie Chenot-Rose, ACES Biologist

Croc Crusaders
You’re never too young to rescue crocodiles as young Alexis learned when he assisted ACES (American Crocodile Education Sanctuary) in the rescue and re-release of a four month old baby crocodile named “Larry” that he helped save. Baby crocs up to a year old are called “hatchlings,” explained Cherie Chenot-Rose, Biologist, as she and Animal Behaviorist Vince Rose informed Alexis about these threatened and protected modern day dinosaurs.

When "Larry" was first confiscated from someone who was trying to illegally sell him, the ACES team took the opportunity to teach neighborhood children about the endangered croc.

Larry was malnourished and dehydrated.
In poor health it was uncertain if the hatchling would survive.

After much nurturing Larry makes a full recovery and is ready to re-released into the wild.

Vince shows Alexis how to properly release the animal.

On this particular rainy day release on Nov. 19th, Vince decided to show Alexis how to properly handle the baby croc, and let him assist in re-releasing the baby croc he was instrumental in saving. When “Larry” was first rescued he was close to starvation and had to be forced fed twice and given vitamins before the little croc began eating on its own. When a Crocodilian is severely stressed, they will often refuse to eat. Crocs as large as 10 feet in length have been know to actually starve to death when subjected to high stress. This severe stress is usually due to improper husbandry, or care, and handling.

Baby croc Larry was lucky when Alexis properly and promptly contacted ACES and let them do their job. Now, a few months later, Larry is healthy, tagged and swimming free. “What most people do not realize is that less than 1% of the eggs in a crocodile’s nest will hatch and grow to reach a size at which they can reproduce, or sexual maturity,” states Chenot-Rose. Although the exact croc population on Ambergris Caye is currently undetermined, it is a know fact in the scientific community that it is the last stronghold for this keystone species.

ACES in Action
ACES has been busier than ever, with two other successful re-releases last weekend. “Crocoberry”, a 7 ft. 7” problematic male croc was rescued from the residence of Mr. & Mrs. Castleberry in San Pablo where he had taken up residence sunbathing in their canal-side backyard. The Castleberry’s had contacted ACES about their unwanted croc and treated the ACES team to a home cooked meal (complete with Wayne’s birthday cake) and cinnamon rolls to go in appreciation of their assistance.

The following day the team was called upon to relocate “Sampson,” an 8ft male croc, from the DFC area. “This was the most rewarding croc rescue so far,” stated Vince, “due to the tremendous amount of support and assistance from the DFC community.” Sampson’s rescue took 5 hours as he was extremely crafty at eluding croc wrangler Vince, who fearlessly crawled under houses in waist-deep waters in the dark. Finally lassoing Sampson, Vince found the croc to be a tagged ACES croc, proving that Sampson is a returning, problematic croc. Sampson was re-released for his final time. If captured again as a problematic animal, Sampson’s fate may be death. With nowhere else to place him, ACES and the Belize Forest Department cannot take the chance of him harming more pets or even worse, possibly a child.

This neighbor was happy to have "Sampson" removed from underneath his house.

Crocs on Ambergris
ACES is currently conducting a croc population survey and size distribution on Ambergris Caye. “Although no grants have come through yet to fund our efforts we just can’t sit still, so we’re taking the opportunity to collect pertinent data during rescues,” states Cherie. Vince and Cherie have collected scientific data on all of the problem crocs being relocated as well as collecting date while conducting croc “eye-shine” surveys. The animals are humanly captured; data such as size, sex and general health are recorded, then tagged and released. When rescuing crocs, such as the previously tagged one from the DFC area, the information collected will allow ACES to write an extremely needed Crocodile Conservation Plan for the island and present their findings to the Belize Forest Dept.

While still waiting for a reply from various grant applications, including PACT, ACES really wishes they had a hand held GPS to be able to collect accurate sighting and croc locations. Regardless, the croc population study will continue. Vince and Cherie are overwhelmed at the respect and participation of all the local Croc Crusaders on Ambergris Caye and stated that this support is what motivates them to continue to move forward.

For more information about ACES or to report a problem croc please call 666-3871 or

ACES's mission is commitment to conserving Belize's critical habitats and protected species through scientific research and education to prevent further extinction of species Worldwide and to preserve Belize's wildlife for future generations.
#403686 - 03/31/11 10:03 AM Re: ACES Crocodile Chronicles [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

ACES Croc Chronicles #4

Submitted by ACES Research Biologist Cherie Chenot-Rose

WASA Croc Problem Continues and Amplifies

On Tuesday, March 23rd, ACES headed south to continue the croc population survey. Attracted by three carts of people at WASA, the team stopped only to see one of the same problematic crocs that they had caught six months ago. This croc, missing a hind foot, is exceptionally fearless of man and extremely dangerous. When ACES croc behaviorist Vince Rose splashed the waters edge the croc immediately charged. Catching the team off-guard Vince was forced to quickly fix a lasso and catch the croc. The croc was so hostile that the rope was handed off to croc conservationist Chris Summers and Vince choose to jump on the head of the croc to subdue the animal. No sooner than catching the croc, a second croc aggressively approached the team as they worked quickly to secure the first croc. With no alternative, the team wrangled the second croc. Rite-Way General Contractors again generously donated transportation of the large apex predators to the Sniffin residence for safe keeping for the night. Sadly, both animals were in extremely poor health and condition with severe bite injuries most likely from a larger croc. Feeding the crocs is illegal. Not only does it make them more aggressive and prone to attack a human, but it also makes them attack each other as they fight for the free, easy meal. This was the first time ACES had caught the second croc. The croc had suffered a severe attack and was missing the larger part of its tail. It may not survive. Because of the injuries, or maybe due to a lack of prey in the WASA lagoon, both reptiles were starving. Due to their slow metabolism, it can take a large croc a year to slowly and painfully starve to death. This is just one more reason for supporting ACES relocation efforts of removing the largest predators from that area.

Testing a new theory, magnetic amplifiers were taped to the croc’s heads for their relocation to a secluded area north of San Pedro. Scientists believe that crocodilian’s spatial orientation is geared by the magnetic poles, much like in migratory birds. The idea is the magnets in the amplifiers will keep the animals from memorizing where they were relocated from and then will be less likely to return to their point of origin. Both crocs were tagged by scute-clipping prior to release for identification and for DNA and toxicity studying. The large animals were transported on a trailer donated by Tyler Cornell and Legends Burger House.

Croc Talk at the San Pedro Library

Lunchtime Monday the 28th at the San Pedro library was full of curiously excited students when Cherie and Vince of ACES showed up with a 3ft live American crocodile, of course it’s mouth was taped shut! Invited by SP Librarian Iracela Acosta and reading enrichment volunteer Liz Gibson Richards, the program started with some children reading out loud about crocodiles from books. Cherie then gave a question and answer presentation on the biology of the crocodiles found in Belize and the Belize Wildlife Protection Act (Chapter 220) that protects them. Always reminding the children that one has to go to school for proper training and then be permitted by the Belize Forest Department in order to work with any of Belize’s protected species, including crocodiles. At the close of the session each student who raised his or her hand and gave one crocodile fact was allowed to view the small reptile up close. It was very educational for everyone, and at the close of the presentation Mrs. Richards and Cherie brainstormed about the idea of a “naturalist” after school club for interested student. Anyone wishing to help, or would like to have an ACES presentation, please email Cherie at acesnpo@hughes.net.

American Crocodile Population Survey Update in Ambergris Caye for the Rufford Small Grants Foundation

From December 2010 to February 2011, one hundred and thirteen American crocodiles Crocodylus acutus were observed during spotlight and daylight surveys of a 72.42 km route (1.56 crocodiles/km) through coastal, mangrove, and lagoon habitats in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Of these, 32 (28.3%) were classified as ‘eye-shine only,’ and the remaining 81 (71.7%) where classified as hatchlings (20; 24.7%), juveniles (7; 8.6%), sub-adults (26; 32.1%), and adults (28; 34.6%). Out of the twenty-three tagged crocodiles, 12 (52.2%) were males and 11 (47.8%) were females. One Crocodylus acutus captured exhibited intermittent ventral scutes post cloacal. While this lends to the possibility hybridization (cross breeding of American and Morelet’s crocodile), DNA testing is needed for confirmation. Another C. acutus was captured with a ‘marbled eye.’ The crocodile’s vision did not appear impaired. A full report will be published in the next Crocodile Specialist Group newsletter. For grant opportunities go to http://www.ruffordsmallgrants.org/

Interview with Vince and Cherie Rose of ACES after the arson of ACES/American Crocodile Education Sanctuary by Wildlife Photographer Brandon Sideleau.

Be sure to tune into the one-hour croc log podcast and learn about Crocodilians and hear the latest croc news with Croc Expert Adam Britton and Wildlife Photographer Brandon Sideleau. Link: http://crocodilian.blogspot.com/2011/03/croclog-podcast-episode-4.html

Always remember to call ACES at 631-6366 if you have a croc problem or witness a croc crime.

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