We reported on several Croc attacks last year alone including the fatal attack in Lords Bank in April that took the life of 47 year old Carl Diaz. While that 12 foot long Morelet Crocodile was put down, the others that were captured were taken to the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary in Ladyville. But that facility simply can't hold all those crocodiles so today we met up with croc experts as they recaptured the Morelet crocs to transport them to a bigger facility. I found out that it is no easy feat moving a 300 pound croc:
Courtney Weatherburne reporting
One snap is all it takes for this crocodile to catch its prey. A crocs bite is the strongest in the world and once locked between those powerful jaws - it can rip its prey apart in seconds.
This is just one of the fresh water Morlet's Crocodiles found at this facility.
They were all captured and brought here where they are monitored and fed.
These crocs had to be removed from the wild because of their heightened aggression towards humans. But that is creating a problem for Croc conservationists at the facility.
Vince Rose, American Crocodile Education Sanctuary, ACES
"This is ACES main facility where we house problematic or nuisance crocodiles that cannot be re-released back into the wild due to, mostly, direct feedings. What we have here is our main facility and I'm in the process of trying to capture all the Marlette Crocodiles that are in these ponds. And we are expanding and moving all these Marlette's to another location. We've run out of room basically."
And making room isn't an easy task.
"In order to capture all these crocs, the easiest thing to do is, we don't use any hooks because I don't want to hurt the animal, but what we'll do is we take a water bottle and tie a string to it with a piece of chicken. Hopefully the crocodile will come eat that piece of chicken and now at least I can follow the water bottle and see where the croc is. And then if it goes well I can pull that crocodile to me and get a proper restraint on him."
That's how they caught this one. When Rose tugged at the rope this 300 pound, 8 foot long male croc emerged. But the remarkable thing about this croc isn't its size or weight.
"There are some scientists out there that are studying the fact that there may be cross breeding going on with certain species of crocodiles throughout the world. And one particular one is Belize, where the fresh water Marlette may be interbreeding with the salt water American. It's not scientifically proven yet, this particular croc we just caught shows signs of both species. so I took my little microchip reader and I found he's been chipped before, so I'll have to get to my computer and pull him up to see what his record is. Where he came from, what we thought he was years ago, all the details will help me decide exactly what species that croc is. I'm pretty sure it's a fresh water Marlette but it has some extreme distinct American crocodile features on it and that's rare. This one shows a fat head like a Marletty, it has a little bit of a hump on its nose and it should not. On its tail it has both inter mitten scales and symmetrical."
This rare croc is only one of the 6 that still have to be taken from this pond
And moved to these Emergency holding pens until they can all be transported to their new homes. It all seems like a tedious and dangerous task but according to these croc lovers - it is all worth it.
Chris Summers, Crocodile Conservationist
"They are incredibly intelligent animals. People look at crocs and just see them as these mindless eating machines. They see it, they want it, and they just snap it and take it. That's really not the case at all, crocodilians, crocodiles, alligators, they are the only reptiles to have a developed cerebral cortex. So that is the thinking part of the brain, they plot, plan, calculate and remember. Very intelligent creatures, I'm not going to lie, like we said earlier, the adrenaline catching them is fun, but the more your around them, the more you study and watch their behavior and interact with them in the way that we do, they never cease to surprise you just how smart they are. They all have their own characteristics, every single croc has their own different personality. Like some are just real cool and chill just like people and some are just big mean bodies, just big, aggressive and everything in between. And you can never know what you're going to come across until you get to that croc yourself."
There were 23 fresh water Morelet crocodiles in the pond at the facility and they will be taken to the Rain forest river camp on the Northern highway. The 3 Salt water American crocs will remain there. The Brigitte Bardot Foundation was the main organization funding this croc move.