Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Florida's Shoot-To-Kill Order On Crocodile

Update on recent Florida Nile crocodile report:

Florida wildlife officials have issued a rare shoot-to-kill order in the hunt for a young and potentially dangerous Nile crocodile on the loose near Miami.

The Nile crocodile, which hails from Africa, can jump higher, run faster and grow to nearly 20 feet in length, several feet larger than its American cousin, and has a "nastier" temperament.
And while the American crocodile stays near saltwater like mangroves and estuaries, the Nile crocodile prefers freshwater, making it more likely to come in contact with humans.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials said the Nile crocodile on the loose is thought to be around three feet long.

The commission is investigating where the crocodile came from, although experts said it most likely escaped "from a facility or a local breeder", probably as a hatchling.

Reptile expert and wrangler Joe Wasilewski said: "They get big. They're vicious. The animals are just more aggressive and they learn that humans are easy targets."

He described the American crocodile as a "gentle animal", adding: "They're more fish eaters. They don't consider humans a prey source."

Only FWC agents are authorised to kill the Nile crocodile at large. If it is caught alive, it will be put down.

A team of agents led by Frank Mazzotti, a University of Florida professor of wildlife ecology, has spent more than 1,000 hours searching by boats and on foot in the canal where the reptile was last seen.

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