Approximately 2:00 am this morning, Saturday, August 20, 2011, Mr. David Tuts of San Juan, Ambergris Caye, went for a swim in the lagoon by Zacbajo Bar and was attacked by an American crocodile. Vince Rose of ACES/American Crocodile Education Sanctuary responded to the incident. Mr. Tuts’s sister informed Vince that David is an excellent diver and just decided to go for a swim. The crocodile suddenly grabbed him by the head and pulled him under the water. Miraculously, David was able to grab ahold of the croc’s top and lower jaw and opened its mouth enough to get his head free, then swam to safety. He ran to his home one block away and was taken to Dr. Dan. Due to the severity of his injuries David was flown to the hospital in Belize City where he is reportedly in stable condition but being kept for observation in case of infection. David was extremely lucky and his fast thinking just may have saved his life. Although stable, David is still in a serious condition. Crocodiles’ mouths carry many bacteria that can cause serious infections.
ACES was also informed by a reliable source that the crocodile is a resident croc in the lagoon area between San Juan and The Boatyard, and that “everyone feeds it.”
American crocodiles are intelligent apex predators and if fed even one time by man they learn to associate humans as a source of food. For over seven years now, ACES has been trying to educate the country on “why you should not feed a wild crocodile.” The most important reason, it is illegal. So, why does just about every country have this same law? Because after years of research, scientists and professionals have ascertained that when humans feed crocodiles it changes the crocs natural behavior of fearing humans to not fearing humans. Thus, the fed crocs begin to associate humans with food and that humans can be food. You cannot reverse this process and usually a fed wild croc has to be euthanized. ACES is not the answer but a part of crocodile conservation. We will attempt to remove any problematic crocodile that we are asked to do so. We are a non-profit crocodile rescue organization. And, unfortunately after ACES was burned to the ground by arsonists last September, we no longer have the financial means to support our cause. Every minute of our time is volunteered and much of our supplies including bait, electric tape, duck tape, bug spray, ropes, boat fuel, and flashlight batteries, all come from out of our pockets. We are currently accepting all types of donations to construct a crocodile refuge here on the island and have already received a $10,000 donation from the Plunkett Family of north Ambergris Caye and have begun the construction of the facility. Once completed, problematic crocs can be caught and placed in secure habitats at the facility for the public to safely view and learn about the importance of crocodiles in keeping our ecosystems in balance. To donate go to AmericanCrocodileSanctuary.org or email [email protected]
Wishing David a Full and Speedy Recovery,
Cherie & Vince