This post is also available in: Spanish
On November 28th, an 800 pound crocodile, measuring approximately 13 feet was removed from the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal, near Gate 8 on the ocean side. It was not in the locks; it was right outside the gate.
As reported to Luis Ferreira, the reptile was found dead and floating when it was pulled from the water by the GUPC workers. Ferreira is an engineer and supervisor of the Communication and Historic Documentation for the Panama Canal Expansion Program.
“The report says the crocodile was found dead and floating. It was missing its two front limbs (or legs) as a result of what appeared to be a fight between two males,” said Ferreira.
“This was a Colón crocodile. It is not unusual for crocodiles to fight over territory,” he said, “It’s a macho thing.”
Crocodiles (subfamily Crocodylinae) or true crocodiles are large aquaticreptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia.
One has to wonder …. If this big boy lost the fight, what size is the winner? And where is he?
“We had to take the dead crocodile out of the water so it wouldn’t stink. We took him to Monte Lirio near the new locks where we buried him,” said Ferreira.
He went on to explain, “We have our own environmental section checking out the discovery and we do protect the animals. As a matter of fact, before we started to do any earth movement in the areas of the locks, a specialized wildlife team of biologists and veterinarians rescued and relocated animals. We had them checked out with the veterinarian, and we moved them into a national protected area, similar to where they were living in coordination with the Ministry of Environment. On the Atlantic side we take them to Lake Gatun, away from where they were living, but sometimes they come back,”
The Wildlife Rescue and Relocation Plan team as a rule, tag any crocodile larger than three feet, before it is relocated. This crocodile was not tagged; therefore, it had never seen before.
According to Ferreira, it is against the law in Panama to get rid of or kill the animals and reptiles. “We can only relocate them,” he said.
Ferreira added: “We believe in taking care of the environment and the wildlife. When we carried out the environmental impact study, we prepared a Wildlife Rescue and Relocation Plan, as part of the Flora and Fauna Protection Program to follow up on our procedure for protecting the animals. Our procedure is, if you find an animal, you call the wildlife rescue team specialists. They then inspect the animal and move it to a habitat that is very close or very similar to where it was living,”
Nearly 3,000 reptiles and a total of 6,000 amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles have been captured and relocated from the entrances to and through the existing canal and expansion project of the Panama Canal as part of the Flora and Fauna Protection Project.