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Crocodiles

Posted By: rickcheri

Crocodiles - 06/23/01 01:28 PM

are there any laws that would prevent one from killing a croc if it posed a threat to your pet, or it was in your yard???
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Crocodiles - 06/23/01 11:59 PM

I would be curious to hear the answer... we saw a couple at the "feedings" at the water plant. Pretty interesting, Butch was really close, about 3 feet, (his wife was about 40 feet back calling "Honey, did you pay your life insurance premium??!!" ). We know that we'll have to fence our yard as we have a small dog. I want to take her down with us next trip, but it will have to wait for a while...
Vicki
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: Crocodiles - 06/24/01 04:45 PM

yes, we will have to fence our yard also...2 dogs. Have heard of the crocs eating a few dogs, so can anyone help us out w/this question??
Posted By: kcbc

Re: Crocodiles - 06/24/01 08:09 PM

You guys worry about the strangest things. Here in Florida with alligators being protected they are in just about every back yard pond that you can find. On my morning walks I ocassionaly encounter them and they are usually very shy and non agressive. Even if you were to fall into a pond with a gator present unless you are just unlucky, the correct size, had the mishap to encounter one that had not eaten for a week or so, nothing would happen. During mating season they tend to be more agressive and on the move. The chance of a reptile eating your dog would be a pretty big longshot. If I would plan on taking my dog I would be alot more concerned with the various diseases that the animal population of AC harbors. Your dogs are more likely to be accidently posioned than to be devoured by a gator.
Be more worried about those fast talking, two legged sharks that inhabit Belize.
I would scratch this off my list of worries about Belize.
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: Crocodiles - 06/24/01 11:29 PM

our good friend Barefoot Skinny's dog was eaten by a croc....we are VERY big animal lovers, no children, they ARE our children....so, still searching for an answer!! Also, when we move, will be working w?Bron at the Saga Society....not very concerned about diseases, it's the dogs who run loose/homeless that are sick....not "domesticated" ones

[This message has been edited by rickcheri (edited 06-24-2001).]
Posted By: kathyw

Re: Crocodiles - 06/25/01 04:34 AM

Our friends live 1/4 mile south of us (we're 4 miles south) A croc. did eat one of their dogs in December, they were on vacation at the time. This was the second one he had eaten,so the caretakers and wokers got together and killed this one. It was only a 5 footer. We've had a 15 footer there for a long time and haven't been botherd by him.
Kathy W.
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: Crocodiles - 06/26/01 02:11 AM

YES, holy Moses, we've seen the 15ft!!! Amazing!! So, are there laws against this? We will be living in Tres Cocos...see kcbc, it SHOULD be a concern! Seems like the've eaten quite a few! Need to be concerned also about when the time comes that it is no longer "recreational" to "feed" them chickens...then they'll be really hungry!!!
Posted By: kcbc

Re: Crocodiles - 06/26/01 10:38 AM

I realize you love your animals. Nothing wrong about that. The problem being that you are planning on going to Belize which would win no award with the way it treats its pet population. In fact the major problem in Belize is that they are still considered animals and not pets. The concept that we have that our pets our children is not an aquired third world trait. I have said this before my Belize family would never say anything to your face about going to your home and finding the cat for instance walking on the kitchen counter, nor would they say anything about the dog staring at them while they were eating. Or the pets on the bed or the furniture. But you can bet
that the minute we leave the first words out of their months are going to be. "Man that house smells like an animal. What is with this dog following us around and sitting by us on the sofa. Who would eat their food after that nasty cat walked over and sniffed it. The animal hair is on everything. " Every complaint that one can have about an animal is voiced.
If I took my pet to Belize I would have major concerns always about them. First of all our concept of having the pooch go eveywhere with us is not well received. As much as you would like average Belizeans are not going to view your animals as children. Lets say your pet escapes the fenced yard you think that those loose dogs wandering around are going to just greet your pooch with a friendly sniff. They are more likely to make a beeline for your pooch and attack it. If you would lose your pet and they ended up with a local family that nice lovely lifestyle that your pet has now is over. Its back to the dog eat dog world.

It goes without saying that anytime you interfer with the natural process ie feeding chickens to an crocidile that one must learn to live with the consequences of the action.
In the real crocidile world not many chickens get dropped from the sky. Also great way to take away their fear of humans is to have us standing around watching the event looking like the next meal.
You know that Belize still carries out a bait and poision for all the strays. Also it is not unknown for locals to dispose of animals that have what they considered unattractive traits. Two of these traits would be dogs that are agressive and dogs that bark alot. Another easy way for a dog to meet its demise is to be a chicken killer.

Still say that the chance of a crocidile leaving his pond or swamp area and coming out and hunting down your dog are poor. Now the chance of your dog wandering down to the pond, swamp and getting taken off the bank would increase greatly if people are down there throwing in chickens and such. But don't think I would view the crocidile as the problem. Point that finger at us humans.
Posted By: lupay

Re: Crocodiles - 06/26/01 06:07 PM

well said KCBC!!!!
Posted By: seashell

Re: Crocodiles - 06/26/01 07:09 PM

KCBC, I sure didn't notice anyone taking exception to dogs that bark all the time when I was last down there. I was staying up in Boca area and the dog across the street barked all night long every night. The only person complaining was me. The locals said they didn't even hear it. I'm still tired! :^)
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: Crocodiles - 06/27/01 04:02 AM

and the question still remains the same...are there any laws that would prevent a person from killing a croc, if you felt it might be a threat to your own "animals"...i just need an answer not a lecture....have been to AC MANY times...i know the "dog" situation there, but thanks for reminding us!! Please donate to the Saga Society when you're there....Bron would be grateful!! C also, those crocs on AC are known to go from lagoon across land/street to sea, as well as been on the roads etc.....many people have come around street corners and there one would be. Anybody have an answer to original question?????

[This message has been edited by rickcheri (edited 06-26-2001).]
Posted By: kcbc

Re: Crocodiles - 06/27/01 11:11 AM

You don't want to listen to what I am saying.
I feel the chance of your dogs being taken by an crocidile are slim if your dog is contained. If your intent is to let your animal run free then it will face the hazardous that all animals do. My one dog here in Florida was fortumate to survive three pgymy ratllesnake bites while my other two dogs evidently had the brains to leave them alone. If you feel that you will sleep easier at night killing all the crocs than on the next trip to AC go right to the police station and ask them. I would do two things. First have a second person go in and ask this question. If the answer is yes you can kill the crocs, the you wander in a couple days later verify the info and get something in writing. If the answer is no then at least it can't be said that you were told this information. That way your butt is covered. Ask the vet, they should know what laws are in place.

Just sit down and think of the consquences of the action that you want to take. Does your overwhelming desire to protect your dogs give you the right to take such action.
The croc would vote no, you would vote yes because of your love for your pets. Who was here first. 10 years from now someone might say didn't this place use to have crocs? Whatever happened to them? And it is not just you it's all of us, me included. Do you hear the Belizeans complaining about the crocs or worrying about the problem?

See that is part of the problem with leaving the states and going to other countries. It's our culture, our values, our ideas going to a country that has different ones.
Hard for us not to stir the pot and whisper our ideas in the hopes that the Belizeans will change. I am just as guilty of this as the rest. Very hard to not jump in and just let this country and culture figure out their own solutions to the problems.

So that is my suggestion and I got to give another lecture.
Also seashell is right about the barking dogs, I should have said more likely a bike chaser would meet his demise.
Belizeans are deaf to barking dogs, loud music, crowing roosters and diesel trucks idling for hours at a time. Buy you some earplugs and use them if this drive you nuts.

[This message has been edited by kcbc (edited 06-27-2001).]
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Crocodiles - 06/27/01 04:21 PM

I personally don't know what the law is. I doubt there is one specifically regarding crocs and what one can or cannot do on one's property. The laws of Belize are now on-line, so if one is interested in spending some time reading dry law books one could find out.

Of course what the local is or is not frankly isn't pertinent. There are laws on the books against cutting mangroves, for example, but that's routinely done, around San Pedro and all over Belize. Having a law on the books, and having it enforced (or enforced consistently) are two different things.

The two crocodile species in Belize are not endangered in Belize, but on the other hand I agree with Karen that crocs were in Belize long before Americans (and their dogs) were, A good steward of the land would not kill a natural creature, one which plays an important role in the ecology, except as a last resort.

Of course we all act irrationally and kill things we are afraid of -- snakes, spiders and such. I myself killed a small, harmless snake last night that was at my back door trying to come in the house. It frightened my daughter so I stepped on it. That was not a good thing to do.

Crocs in Belize certainly do kill dogs from time to, just as alligators in Florida or Louisiana occasionally kill dogs. It is rare for them to bother humans. I recall one incident a few years back near Belize City were a young boy was swimming and was bitten by an "alligator" (as Belizeans call crocs) but I can't think of another recent instance of that happening.

--Lan Sluder
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: Crocodiles - 06/28/01 01:12 AM

thanks Lan....closest thing to an answer yet..got our 1st "BZ Magazine" love it! And believe me kcbc, i love all animals, am a member of PETA and Humane Society..i wouldn't go around killing crocs (or anything) unless it were necessary...hell, i don't even like to kill flies...and normally don't!! Chill my friend...everything gonna be alright....
Posted By: Laguna Punta

Re: Crocodiles - 06/30/01 06:42 PM

Hi Rick and Cheri: Crocadiles are a protected endangered specie in Belize. I don't know the particular specifics of the law, but I do know its against the law to kill them. We have a BIG fellow out at Laguna Punta and we enjoy seeing him. This being said, a young kid got bit last Saturday when I was leaving. He had to have stitches on his leg and was very fortunate that it wasn't the "BIG GUY". The kid was throwing things at the croc, which any self respecting croc would not like. The best rule I know is respect the fellows, and don't get near the "dark water". Take care: Bill PS. This also applies to pets.
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: Crocodiles - 07/01/01 03:04 PM

Bill, THANK YOU< THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! you're a SWEETHEART!! C Angels to ya! Is this the first time a child was bitten??
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Crocodiles - 07/02/01 03:20 AM

Bill,

Which of the two species of crocs in Belize are you saying are endangered? Morelets or American? Or both?

--Lan Sluder
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: Crocodiles - 07/09/01 11:54 PM

A rise on croc attacks in Florida...6 incidents, 2 fatal, in last 3 months. On June 23rd, a 2 yr. old girl was dragged into a lake and drowned and eaten...when 1 croc was killed, 7 dog collars found in stomach (i could go on)..point>when humans and crocs/alligators live too close...a fatality will happen and they will eat your dogs!!! It's just a matter of time
Posted By: Barefoot Skinny

Re: Crocodiles - 07/11/01 07:48 AM

Well ... Bill said it first. IT'S ILLEGAL! I would suppose that includes Morlets Crocs as well. (See Wildlife Protection Act 1981)
Audibon will have a copy.
Posted By: tequila

Re: Crocodiles - 07/11/01 07:08 PM

I am going to be out there in a couple weeks
so now i'am all freaked out about walking down the road day or night and stepping into the jaws of some 15' croc. Sound like fun
Posted By: ChrisW

Re: Crocodiles - 07/11/01 10:23 PM

A croc story from Channel Five News
---------------------------------------
Fleeing felon stopped by crocodile

And if you think this has been a strange day for crime, you haven't heard the last of it. This morning in Orange Walk a fugitive long sought by police was finally taken to Magistrate's Court for arraignment. But sometime after 9:30, eighteen year old James Pelayo decided that jail was not his cup of tea...and bolted out of the courtroom, heading for the nearby river. He jumped in and was about halfway to the opposite bank when he was suddenly intercepted...by a crocodile. The hungry reptile decided to flex his jaws and it soon became clear that Pelayo's punishment would be swift, painful and perhaps even capital. But talk about going above and beyond the call of duty. P.C. Elalio Cantun promptly jumped into the menacing waters, distracted the croc and brought Pelayo to safety...not to mention custody. The now repentant fugitive was taken to Orange Walk hospital where his injuries were classified as wounding. It is not known if charges will be filed against the crocodile.
Posted By: ChrisW

Re: Crocodiles - 07/20/01 02:02 PM

Another Croc Story From Channel 5 News
---------------------------------------

Man survives Belize River crocodile attack
A forty year old Belize City man almost lost his left arm and part of his skull this afternoon when a four foot crocodile attacked him as he took an afternoon swim in the Belize River near Manatee Lookout at Mile 8 1/2 on the Northern Highway. Egbert Coleman says he literally had to beat on the vicious reptile in order to make it let him go. News Five was waiting for Coleman as he reached the emergency room at the K.H.M.H.

Egbert Coleman
"Well he got me on the first attack, so then I spun around in the water looking for him. He made a second attack and gashed me in the head then I pushed him off, and he made a third attack but I saw him, so I made a second push and I saw him spin over and he dove under. From way back, people usually say when you're attacked like that you make a lot of noise."

Ann Marie Williams
"Hoping to scare him away?"

Egbert Coleman
"So I screamed but I still had about twenty feet to swim in and one of the guys picked up a rock and stone in the water. Well I finally swam in."

Ann Marie Williams
"Where were your friends a this time?"

Egbert Coleman
"At the edge of the highway, the Northern Highway, right under a tree. A lot of people go to bathe there. I understand yesterday four children were bathing out there. I think they should put a warning sign there. If I had a gun I would have shot him."

Ann Marie Williams
"When he grabbed your arm, what was the feeling like?"

Egbert Coleman
"I just feel a scratch. Didn't feel like anything. Up to now I hardly feel anything."

Ann Marie Williams
"And the wound in your head?"

Egbert Coleman
"Well the watchman inspected it, said it's pretty big so it's best I come to the hospital, he said it was about three inches or so."

Ann Marie Williams
"How did you feel, dizzy?"

Egbert Coleman
"No, no way."

Coleman says he works in the area and was cooling off with two friends when disaster struck. He told News Five that he has been bathing almost daily in that same area for over a year without incident. Coleman has been treated and released from the K.H.M.H.
Posted By: Laguna Punta

Re: Crocodiles - 07/25/01 08:25 PM

Lan: After some research, I find that the Crock's in Ambergris are the American. Take care: Bill
Posted By: Marty

Re: Crocodiles - 08/06/01 01:45 AM

its incredible how much improvement has been made in the last year in the animal population. Kudos to the Saga Society. The dogs you do see are in much better health also. shiny coats, collars.

incredible difference over a couple years ago.

and yes, the crocs eat the dogs. friend lost a large expensive german shepard.

hard to say how this is gonna end.

[This message has been edited by Marty (edited 08-05-2001).]
Posted By: papashine

Re: Crocodiles - 08/06/01 09:31 PM

Its gonna end, crocks 20 dogs zip.
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: Crocodiles - 08/06/01 11:26 PM

does anyone know if the owners were with the dogs? Were they leashed? Where are the crocs the worst??? Anymore children bitten?? Am very concerned about our dogs....will a fence around the yard help?? What time of day/night is this happening? our dogs will be mostly indoors, they sleep indoors...etc....
Posted By: Dallas Dave

Re: Crocodiles - 08/09/01 06:52 AM

Oh, come on Cheri. You know the scoop. Remember what happened to Timmy's dog in Boca Del Rio? Of course it's a problem here and there. The feeding of crocs down south for the benifit of tourists has made it worse. Now the crocs don't fear humans as much as they should. No child kills yet...But it's coming. I hate the practice of feeding them chickens for entertainment, but then again that's just one mans opinion. I could be wrong. Just keep your dogs away from the backside and you will have no problems. See ya'll.....Dave
Posted By: ChrisW

Re: Crocodiles - 08/14/01 05:37 PM

Another crocodile article from Channel 5 news. Note that the article does talk about the killing of crocodiles....

Belize City teen killed by crocodile
------------------------------------
The calls to this station come in so often that we no longer consider them news. What I'm talking about is the sight of a crocodile strolling through a Belize City neighbourhood. But the tragedy, which unfolded on Sunday afternoon in the Belama area, was not just a sighting; it was a killing. And to make matters worse, the body of the teenaged victim was not discovered until shortly after eight this morning. News 5's Jacqueline Woods and cameraman George Tillett have been following the story since Sunday.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
The actual wound was a small one to the abdomen...but there was no doubt that it was a crocodile that pulled thirteen year old Jamaal Swift down to his death at the bottom of a canal off the Haulover Creek. Witnesses say the croc was a big one...eight to ten feet long...and Swift didn't have a chance.

Mushae McDonald, Resident
"After it attack the boy it came back up, but because of a crowd that was out here and when they saw him they started to make noise because some of the neighbours had shotguns and thing and policeman try to shoot after it. But because of the noise it went back under the water and so we clean off the river bank the side of it to try and catch it again but from then it did not come back up."

The drama unfolded around 1:00 Sunday afternoon. Jamaal, who was a member of the ironically named Belama Gator's Football Team was with his friends when they went to the canal to swim. The boys had just won their game earlier in the day and went to the water to celebrate. The boys first climbed onto this concrete building and then jumped into the canal when Swift was attacked.

Witnesses say someone spotted the animal and shouted "Croc." The boys tried to make it to the bank but Swift who was trailing behind his friends was grabbed by his foot and pulled underwater. Swift surfaced once but was pulled back down and never came back up.

A search team made up of Belama residents combed the area looking for the young boy. The party remained in the area well into the night, but it was not until this morning that someone saw the body. Residents say that throughout the search both the police and the B.D.F. did little to help them find their neighbour.

Mushae McDonald
"About two hours after the incident the B.D.F. and so try to help but it look like they just quit and we stayed because we know the boy because the young boy is from our neighbourhood so we won't just give up like that and we stayed up all night and we travel from where the boy jumped into the water to way around in the river and come back up and down."

Jamaal's father, Magistrate Richard Swift, desperately searched the waters for his son. Swift says Jamaal was aware of the danger that exist in the Belama Canals and believes the only reason why Jamaal would have taken the risk and go into the water was because he was in the company of friends.

Richard Swift, Father
"Jamaal is a sensible young boy and he knows that I have a canal right behind my place, he knows the water is not good to bathe in, he also knows that it is very infested with crocodiles but you know boys will be boys and I understand they went out to play football game and when they came back they did win and they went over there and decided to take a bath."

Following the incident, the residents tried to capture and kill the crocodile. While efforts to get the reptile's attention proved futile they did manage to land a smaller one and make it pay for the sins of its family. Residents say for a long time they have been complaining to the authorities about the presence of crocodiles in a residential neighbourhood but say they have been told by environmental groups that the crocodile is an endangered specie and they could be taken to court if they hurt or kill the reptile.

Hugh Bowden, Resident
"Well I live in the Belama area for six years now. I have been telling the public, I have been telling the television station about these crocodiles that live in Belama phases III, II and I, but according to my understanding the Belize Audubon Society does not want to listen to the people in Belama."

Jessie Pinks, Resident
"We did not believe in don't kill the animals, don't kill crocodiles, alligator don't do this, don't do that. Now they want us not to do nothing to any of the animals not even deer, nothing. All they want us to do is just leave the animals wandering around the place. You know just how many crocodiles are out here? I live right over there and you see them on the sidewalk over there and you see them on the sidewalk floating up. They took away the dog, they only find the dog head, floating. I have a friend in this little white house, the crocodile lie behind her house we went there and saw it and it broke down her fence this is not right what they are doing with us up here."

Elroy Bonnell, Resident
"Enough kids are around and you never know what would happen. Well we bigger guys can take care of ourselves, but those smaller guys can't take care of themselves."

The Swift family says no matter what future actions may be taken to control killer crocodiles, their son is dead. They are at least thankful that his body was found and they will be able to put him at rest. However, they are appealing to authorities to address the problem and make the area a safer place to live.

Richard Swift
"In terms of those crocodiles and so on that are in these canals we want the authorities, Audubon Society, whosoever, we want them to know that people live in these areas; it is not like before where the crocodiles used to roam. So they have to do something about these animals because they are very hungry obviously and they are roaming."

...And until something is done to make Belama residents feel safer, residents are urged to keep out of the water and watch where you walk. Reporting for News 5, Jacqueline Woods.

While residents may have singled out the Audubon Society for their wrath, it is the Ministry of Natural Resources which controls hunting of wild animals. Nigeli Sosa of the Conservation Division told News 5 that while in general hunting of crocodiles is not allowed, there is no law against killing a croc that is threatening a neighbourhood's safety. Sosa says her department will be making an assessment of the area with an eye to reducing the population of crocodiles.







Zoo curator says crocs should be left alone
Not all Belizeans share the righteous anger of those Belama residents now mourning the death of Jamaal Swift. The Belize Zoo's Tony Garel, says that man and nature can peacefully coexist--provided we follow some common sense rules.

Tony Garel, Curator, Belize Zoo
"First of all, let me express my sympathy to the parents. I have three kids and I could certainly imagine what they're going through. Crocodiles are at the top of the food chain, they're predators, and when you have large predators conflicting with people, in other words if you are in the same area or the same vicinity bathing with large crocs around and in their territory, it's usually a bad situation. So it could be territorial, and also could be that the crocodile saw the kids swimming and water splashing, not realising it was a human being and then took the opportunity."

Jacqueline Woods
"What happens after a crocodile attacks you?"

Tony Garel
"Usually how large crocodiles attack preys, they sneak up on the prey and in a sudden burst, they charge and grab them, pull them in the water and submerge them and drown them. Most predators don't like to go through a vicious fight with their prey. They try and subdue it as quickly, most efficient way and it's usually by drowning in the case of crocodiles."

Garel is familiar with the situation in Belama and recommends that authorities place signs in the area warning people of the danger and also restrict swimming in the area.
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: Crocodiles - 08/14/01 10:44 PM

I'm sure we'll keep getting more and more reports of tragedies due to crocs. What concerns me is that i heard people are aiding in the fertilization/hatching of croc eggs, on purpose...to create more of them because they think it's "neat" to see them hatch!!?? My dogs ARE MY FAMILY!!! Can you say "Almost free today-croc handbags, belts and accesories"?
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: Crocodiles - 08/28/01 02:52 AM

any recent incidences with crocs???
Posted By: ChrisW

Re: Crocodiles - 08/28/01 02:38 PM

Nothing new, but here is the same story by a different paper.
http://www.belizemall.com/amandala/#1

-------------------------------------------

Old croc kills young boy!
by Kimberly King

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Aug. 14

Possible complacency by residents of the Belama areas of the City where their co-existence with crocodiles is concerned, had deadly results on Sunday afternoon, August 12, when the Swift family of Belama Phase II lost their eldest son to a 9-foot predator.

For years residents have been reporting sightings of crocodiles in their yards and in the various man-made canals in the area, but this has been one of the very few times a human has been attacked in the country by the huge reptiles, and the first time that an encounter occurred in the Belama area. Death resulted.

Thirteen-year-old Jamaal Swift, along with some teammates from the Belama Gators, a junior football team, went to the canal shortly after midday, Sunday afternoon, to celebrate their victory over the Kulture Yabra junior team. According to Varian Usher, 13, a close friend of Jamaal's, they were only in the water for about five minutes when Jamaal's younger brother, Jahlen, who was sitting on the roof of a public restroom from which Jamaal and his friends were leaping into the canal, yelled out that there was a "big black thing" floating in the water.

Not paying much attention to him, Varian and Jamaal continued swimming, but Adrian Kelley and Andrew Middleton got out of the water.

Varian told Amandala that he sighted "the big, black thing" coming towards them "full speed," and it was nearer to him. He said he made a dash to safety, and the crocodile passed him and headed for Jamaal, who was nearer to shore, but apparently too frightened to make haste.

Varian made shore, and with his friends watched in horror as the crocodile bit Jamaal in the left side of his upper back and pulled him under water.

Jamaal resurfaced seconds later, and Varian and his friends formed a human chain, with Varian at the end, trying to pull Jamaal to safety.

"I tried to grab his hand, but it was too wet and the crocodile was pulling too hard", Varian said.

As they watched in disbelief, the crocodile apparently grabbed Jamaal by his foot, and pulled him from the grasp of his friends. Jamaal then disappeared under the water.

The horrific ordeal left the four boys, who were spectators to the incident, terribly shaken, but they had enough presence of mind to seek help. Ten minutes later, Jamaal's father, Magistrate Richard Swift, and a host of relatives, friends and neighbors, rushed to the scene in hopes that Jamaal would be found alive.

A group of men from the area immediately formed a search team and combed the canal for Jamaal's body. Their search, however, was futile. When Jamaal's body did resurface, it was around 8:00 a.m. the following day, Monday.

His body was retrieved from the canal by police and placed on the basketball court on which Jamaal spent most of his time. The body was then taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where a post mortem was performed. The examination concluded that Jamaal died from drowning.

Later that Monday night, residents of the area launched another search, this time for the crocodile that killed young Jamaal. The team found all sizes of crocodiles, except the 9-footer. The search proceeded until 4:30 Tuesday morning.

Funeral services for Jamaal Swift, who was going to be a Standard six student at St. Joseph School, were held at St. Joseph Church at 3:00 on Tuesday afternoon.

The incident prompted a crew of professionals, comprised of Marcelo Windsor, a wildlife conservationist at the Forest Department; Adam Finger, a researcher who is a U.S. national; and Australian Mark Howells, the last two named of Lamanai Outpost Lodge, to patrol the relevant section of the Haulover Creek on Tuesday night in a small boat for two hours looking for the crocodile.

At about 10:30 p.m. the crew returned with a crocodile that they said, "fit the description of the crocodile the residents gave." The reptile was found under a tree some 200 meters from the spot where Jamaal's body was found.

Some thirty residents of Belama Phase II two flocked to Sir Sandy Hunter Street to view the killer. One of the residents beat the creature frustratingly with a rock, saying that that was the one.

The crocodile was taken to the laboratory in Central Farm, where the authorities killed it and performed a post mortem to determine the contents of its stomach. They discovered that he had previously eaten a whole chicken. The crocodile had a chicken bone, three pebbles, and a three and a half-inch nail in his stomach.

Adam Finger told Amandala this afternoon that to catch the big male crocodile, the team utilized a snare and a long pole, which was attached to a rope that was tied to the boat. He said the crocodile fought, but they wore it out, taped its mouth and tied its feet.

Crocodiles can grow up to 14 feet. Finger said the largest he has seen in Belize was a ten-footer in Orange Walk.

Finger said crocodiles are not ordinarily a threat to man, so this incident was an unusual occurrence. Crocodiles are known to feast on small rodents, turtles and fish.

He said that he suspects that the reason the crocodile attacked the boy was because the reptile has been interacting with the residents over a period of time. The creatures inhabit a rural area, and have lost their fear of man. Normally, crocodiles avoid an encounter with humans, regardless of their size, although they are territorial and will protect their territory if they suspect it is under attack.

The male crocodile was between 30 to 40 years old, and weighed 220 pounds.

Internationally, there are twenty-three species of crocodiles. In Belize, there are two species that roam the rivers, canals and marshes - American crocodiles and Morlet's crocodiles. The one that was found was of the American class.

For his part, Tony Garel, manager of Tropical Education Center, who also studies the behavior of crocodiles, said that crocodiles are scavengers. The crocodile was probably hunting when he saw the water splashing as Jamaal and Varian were swimming. Crocodiles attack their preys in shallow, muddy and murky waters, said Garel. Crocodiles first drown their prey and then bury it under water until the body has decomposed, before they feed.

Crocodiles in the Belama area are said to range from 2 feet to 10 feet in length. Although it was the first time these creatures attacked a human in this area, residents told Amandala that the reptiles have an appetite for dogs.

A woman whose house is bordered by two canals told Amandala that the same crocodile that attacked Jamaal, killed her dog, a Rottweiler, late last year. She said all she found was part of the dog's tail on the bank of the canal, along with paw prints.

Another resident, who is a close friend of Jamaal's family, told Amandala that about two weeks ago the same crocodile tried to eat her dog. She said they heard the dog barking and when they went outside and spotted the flashlight, they saw the crocodile advancing towards the dog. They scared it off. She said most people recognize the crocodile because it is reportedly the largest they have seen so far.

Jamaal's father, Richard, who is a magistrate, said that although he was relieved by the relatively intact state in which Jamaal's body was found, he is still distraught by the fact that his son frequented the "bathing grounds" of the canal. He said neither he or his wife was aware of that. The Swift family has resided in Belama Phase II for six years. Mr. Swift knew that crocodiles inhabited the canals, and Jamaal also knew, because the canal runs behind their house.

He said he would not feel better until the residential areas are crocodile-free.

Last year in Orange Walk Town, twenty-six-year-old Alex Chata, who once frequented the New River, had an encounter while swimming that was too close for comfort. He won the match with a 6-foot crocodile, but in the end sustained a broken jawbone, a broken leg and multiple bites behind the neck, arms, feet and in the stomach area.

About two months ago, James Pelayo, 18, who tried to escape police custody by jumping into the New River, was attacked by a seven-foot crocodile that suddenly emerged from the water and nipped him in his chest. He was treated and released.

Varian and the other two boys who were with Jamaal Swift are receiving counseling.
Posted By: BillandJeanne

Re: Crocodiles - 08/29/01 12:16 AM

Ya know, these stories don't seem to be much different that the shark attacks in Florida, or the croc attacks in the Florida everglades.
When you go into croc waters, you may get bit. When you go surfing in the Atlantic, you may get bit.

I think, if you care for your dogs the same way you would in the states, they should be okay.
I certainly wouldn't let your dogs go swim in the water!!
Posted By: Laguna Punta

Re: Crocodiles - 08/29/01 10:10 AM

Rick and Cheri: I would hassen to add that the authorities killed the Crock. If your not cloaked with authority, I'm certain the same action might land ya in Ladyville. I do not know of any other incidents on Ambergris Caye where children got biten by the Crocks. We hafta run-off children all the time on our property for throwing rocks at the Crocks. The only way we can get by with that is that its private property and a private roadway. I've done some serious "warning" about the Crocks to children and their mothers, without much result. I wouldn't think that it would not be necessary to warn locals that Crocks are dangerous, but many of the people who live on the backside are not originally from Ambergris.
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