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Joined: Oct 1999
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The Belize Forest Department has received reports of a crocodile attack in Caye Caulker Village. According to a police report, the attack happened around 10:00 a.m. today on the north side of the Split area in the village. The victim has been identified as Joshua Young, a Belizean resident of Caye Caulker. Investigations revealed that Mr. Young was diving and spearfishing when he was attacked by the crocodile. He received injuries to his forehead and chin. He was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for further treatment and is in a stable condition.

The Forest Department is working with its wildlife partner ACES Wildlife Rescue to search for and capture the crocodile.

We take this opportunity to remind the public to practice the following safety habits:

� Do not feed any crocodile. This is a dangerous practice and can cause crocodiles to lose their fear of humans.
� Do not dispose of fish carcasses nearby or in areas where fishing. This can cause indirect feeding of crocodiles.
� Protect your pets if you live close to the water.
� Place garbage in its proper place and do not dump garbage in or close to the water. This can also cause indirect feeding of crocodiles.
� Leave crocodiles alone. Keep your distance and do not try to capture or interfere with them.

Practicing these safety measures can prevent crocodile attacks on humans. If you notice a crocodile showing aggressive behavior, please contact the Forest Department at 822-1524 or ACES at 623-7920.

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Marty Offline OP
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Caye Caulker: Man Pries Open Croc's Mouth To Escape

>A man is lucky to be alive after surviving a croc attack. Joshua Young, who is a resident of Caye Caulker, was attacked by a crocodile while diving and spearfishing on the northern side of the Split area.

A friend who was with him says, he was under the tree that everyone jumps from. That's when a a large crocodile appeared for nowhere and caught him by surprise and attacked him. Young managed to keep calm and pry open the croc's mouth, who tried to bite him again.

The friend adds, quote, "Josh is alive because he was calm and able to think enough to open that crocs mouth.I t was as big as Josh and it ambushed him from nowhere In a very people populated area ! That reptile had no thoughts to let him go biting him again as he was escaping. The nurses and doctors on the island were amazing and work very fast to stabilize the bleeding and get the plane for medical airlift. He will be in surgery for a while tonight to put it all back together as well as a few days needing iv antibiotics . Josh has a long road for recovery but he will heal both mind and body .pray for him as he rest and heals." This observer adds, quote, "Swimming should be stopped in that area until this is taken care of ! With all of the new construction on that side of the island many creatures are displaced and are not behaving normally".

A press release from the Forestry Department says Young has injuries to his forehead and chin. He was rushed to the KHHM, where he is currently undergoing treatment. The injuries are not life threatening and he is reported in a stable condition.

So, what about the croc?

The Department of Forestry is working with ACES Wildlife Rescue to search for and capture the crocodile. In a release, the reminded residents of the following safety habits: don't feed crocs, as it can cause them to lose their fear of humans; don't dispose of fish carcasses nearby or in area where fishing; put garbage in its proper place, not in the water or near to it; and leave crocodiles alone - keep your distance and do not try to capture of interfere with them. Notably, this is currently mating season for crocodiles, and compounded with loss of habitat, male crocs tend to be very territorial.

Channel 7


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Croc Attack Survivor Remains Hospitalized

Last week we told you about the croc attack that left Caye Caulker resident Joshua Young hospitalized. Young was diving and spearfishing on the north side of The Split area in Caye Caulker Village when he was attacked. He received injuries to his forehead and chin and was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Deputy Chief Forest Officer John Pinelo gave us an update.

John Pinelo, Deputy Chief Forest Officer, Dept. of Forestry: "Out in the coast, it's mostly the American Saltwater Crocodile. It can grow to 16 – 18 ft. You know that is the extreme case, but those are the bigger ones. In the mainland, in the rivers and the lagoons, we have the Morlet Crocodile which is the smaller one but is still also dangerous to dogs and maybe a small child. Now, I say dangerous but, like you said, we haven't had any issues where, I mean the last reporting, I don't know, I remember, was in Orange Walk when I was a little boy that somebody got killed by a crocodile on Good Friday actually. So that's the last time I've heard anything about a crocodile attack in Belize until now. There are lots of conjectures but the general thought is that he went underneath and he was fishing and probably scared the croc and the croc attacked in reaction. Now I am also conjecting because I wasn't there so I'm not sure what the issue was but that is as far as we can hypothesise happened. There are lots of stories that he had fish with him. They were cleaning fish in the area. We don't know if that is true because like I said, we have not spoken to Mr. Young but the animal probably got scared and attacked him."

The Forest Department has partnered with ACES Wildlife Rescue to capture and relocate the crocodile but up to news time efforts have proved futile.

John Pinelo, Deputy Chief Forest Officer, Dept. of Forestry: "We just got a report at midday from the people from ACES and they have been there two nights and they say they don't see the croc. They have put out food. There has been no response. Nothing has bitten the bait so they don't believe the croc is in the area anymore."�

Reporter: However is it safe for Belizeans, anyone to swim in that area, to dive in that area?

John Pinelo, Deputy Chief Forest Officer, Dept. of Forestry: " I will not take that leap and say it is safe because I wouldn't want somebody to say "Forestry said" and then they go there and they get hurt but it is highly unlikely that you will have another attack in a week. Because there has been such a long span in the time we've had reportings of attacks and crocs are generally afraid of us, so they kind of get out of the way when they hear people around. The only way, like I said, that they would probably react is if you frighten them or you bump into them off guard, which is probably what happened in this case."

Reporter: Do you know if any other croc lives in the area, has a den in the area and if it's the only croc in that area?

John Pinelo, Deputy Chief Forest Officer, Dept. of Forestry: "We don't know. We cannot say but that area is known to have crocs. That's their natural environment."

The Forest Department is asking the public to not feed any crocs because this is a dangerous practice and can cause crocodiles to lose their fear of humans.

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My Head Was Trapped In A Croc's Jaws

It's been more than a month since we reported on Caye Caulker's crocodile attack, and back then we told you that bartender and sometimes fisherman Joshua Young was taken into the jaws of a croc while diving and spearfishing on the northside of the split.

It's a story that shocked and frightened both residents and visitors to the island but one that, we felt, hadn't really been told. So yesterday I went to meet Joshua and to hear his incredible story of survival first hand.

Cherisse Halsall
This is the area of the Spilt where Joshua Young was spearfishing when he was attacked by a crocodile bigger than him. But Josh didn't panic; he somehow managed to wrest himself out of the crocodile's jaws. Still, he worries that the next time a croc attacks in this holiday playground, the next victim may not be as lucky.

And yesterday morning we made the trip to Caye Caulker to hear from the still recovering animal attack victim about the moment he chose to fight and live instead of surrender and die.

Joshua Young, Victim of Crocodile Attack
"I dove down and like I said the current was strong but when I dove down it got clear, so my intention was when I go up current and then dive down and come swimming underwater and shoot what I could see you know but that didn't go as planned."

"It felt like a canoe or something like a log or something - so I looked up to see what it was but I didn't see anything so I put my head back down and I just felt something just latched onto me. Like with no warning, it just latched on."

Cherisse Halsall:
"To your head?"

Joshua Young, Victim of Crocodile Attack
"To my head, like it bumped into the side of me and then I looked up and as I put my head back down it latched on and I was like what the hell I was like what's going on and immediately like I just grabbed the jaws because I was like shit this can't be happening so I just grabbed the jaws."

"At that moment I realized that it was a crocodile and I grabbed on to it's mouth as the current is pulling me and it out to sea, I tried my best to like kick because I was swallowing water, taking in water and I was like face down in the snout and then I managed to pry its mouth just a little bit to get my head vertically up and to swim with this thing attached to me."

"It felt like it was trying to roll but I just had it so it couldn't rotate. I wasn't even panicking or anything like that I was more like this can't be happening like no this is not real and all I was thinking about was getting back to land to take it off because I didn't want to like, at this point I didn't want to die."

"When I got to land I was in shallow water like here and in my head i think if I can't really pry it open I had to put my - in its mouth and try to push with both hands to get it off and figure it out after it got off my head."

"Then it felt like it was adjusting it's mouth is when I had a slight chance just like to push and that's why I have a really gnarly scar."

"Somehow I got over it and I tried to pull up like that and then slide my hand out and when I did that I bolted to the land and then it still tried to come up and latched to my side, when it latched there it just grabbed the wet SUIT THAT I HAD ON AND TORE THAT OFF AND THEN IT backed up and just ran from the edge on the other side."

And lucky for Josh his friend Cecilio Gallego was able to help him get back to the southside of the island for urgent medical care:

Cecilio Gallego, Josh's friend/ rescuer
"I actually saw the face it was my friend Joshso he walked up to me and told me politely like bwoy I got bit and I was like let's go bra because he was bleeding all the way down to his face was pouring right so we hurry rush the man in."

"We managed to get him to the split at the same time I had my cart right so I told him jump on the cart."

"On the way there mein, a couple times he fainted because it was too much blood, he lost a lot of blood."

We wanted to get some context for what seems like a freak attack and for that we consulted Crococodlie Research Coalition founder Marissa Tellez who has made a case study of Joshua Young's story.

Marissa Tellez, Crocodile Research Coalition
"This might not have been necessarily a problem of the crocodile or the behaviour of the crocodile but possibly the bad behaviour of humans and the reason that I state this is that there have been some residents of Caye Caulker that reached out to me and right after this attack and even before the attack and there were concerns of people directly feeding crocodiles in the area and you know it might be someone wants a couple of extra bucks, sees some tourists on the beach and is like hey you want to see some crocodiles."

"This habituates the crocodile, the crocodile starts to associate people with food, they lose their fear of humans and this is when it can attack happens."

Cecilio Gallego, Josh's friend/ rescuer
"I swim there a lot, I do a lot of spearfishing there and I have never seen a crocodile in the day so I guess. it was a coincidence that the crocodile was probably passing through, right like I said I've never seen a crocodile around there so I think it's safe, I just went the other day to shoot fish so I think it's safe I haven't seen any crocodile."

And what's to be the fate of the resident crocodile gone rogue that nearly cost Josh his life?

Marissa Tellez
"From my last discussion with authorities the crocodile that attacked Josh has not been caught. And so I absolutely understand the concerns of the community, because now you have this crocodile that has attack humans. Now, if not that, he has the taste of humans like he's only going to go after people now. It is possible because Josh also fought the crocodile, that this crocodile is like ugh I gotta stay away from people. I do believe for the safety of the community that the crocodile should be caught. Now it might not necessarily be put down, it could be taken to a facility where it could be utilized for education possibly if that is okay with forest department. In some countries when a crocodile does attack humans, they do euthanize the animal. So there's 2 scenarios that can happen for this particular crocodile. Maybe let's try not to go fishing around the split right now."

"Right now we would just want to, I think it would be important to have someone on watch especially with this mating season right now and then just be conscious about some of the fishing activities especially fishing at night now so that you aren't attracting crocodiles to that particular area."

And with the community on alert the only thing Joshua Young can do now is try to move on and return to the carefree life he once lived on La isla Carinosa

Joshua Young, Victim of Crocodile Attack
"Mentally, I am not quite sure because I have not been in the water since the incident has happened but physically I am definitely almost back to 100% soon I'll be going back to work although waiting for my hand to heal a little bit more better so that I can grip things have more of a grip on things."

And work aside, life will be a lot more normal for Josh when he gets back a particular feature that he lost due to the attack.

Cherisse Halsall:
"Will you be growing back the dreads?"

Joshua Young, Victim of Crocodile Attack
"I will be growing back those dreds again."

As we told you when we initially reported on Joshua Young's story, "The Department of Forestry is working with ACES Wildlife Rescue to search for and capture the crocodile. In the meantime the department has reminded residents of the following safety habits: don't feed crocs, as it can cause them to lose their fear of humans; don't dispose of fish carcasses nearby or in areas where fishing; put garbage in its proper place, not in the water or near to it; and leave crocodiles alone - keep your distance and do not try to capture or interfere with them.

Notably, this is currently nesting season for crocodiles, and compounded with loss of habitat, female crocs tend to be very territorial.

Channel 7



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