A few weeks ago The San Pedro Sun printed an article titled, “Crocodile health on Ambergris Caye is alarming says initial research findings”. My bets are that many readers never gave the article a second thought…after all we have far greater problems to concern ourselves with, right? With rampant, unregulated growth on the island, inadequate infrastructure, land filled with polluting trash and a reef that shows more signs of bleaching each day, a sick crocodile or two is the least of our worries. Interestingly enough, many of those ‘greater problems’ are directly related to the health of our resident crocodiles, and believe me if these prehistoric creatures have survived this planet longer than dinosaurs and are NOW getting sick, we most definitely DO have a problem. You don’t have to like crocodiles to be concerned, but you’d better be alarmed about WHY these resilient reptiles are displaying health abnormalities. The health afflictions the crocodiles around Ambergris Caye are demonstrating are a direct result of an unhealthy environment, with severely polluted waters being at the top of the list.
Dr. Marisa Tellez, who along with the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) has been studying crocodile health on Ambergris Caye for several years, stated that crocodilians have been one of the longest surviving creatures on the planet. They are known to have one of the most resistant immune systems and can live and survive healthily in the worst environmental conditions. But past sample studies have shown that the crocodiles on Ambergris Caye are not as healthy as they appear. Cherie Chenot-Rose, biologist for ACES has also observed several crocodiles in the area with a variety of abnormalities. From no teeth, to tumors, skin diseases, stunted growth, deformities and low body weight, many of the crocodiles they have examined display troubling health issues.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see photos in the San Pedro Sun