Crocbusters: Ezemvelo tackles canoeing hazard

2011-01-28 00:00

EMPLOYEES of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) and eThekwini Municipality are trying to catch the crocodiles on the Umgeni River ahead of the Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Once the reptiles are caught they will be relocated to the Crocodile Centre at St Lucia in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

However, the part of the river where the crocodiles are located is thickly covered with a floating alien invasive plant, which makes it difficult to catch the animals.

Said EKZNW spokesperson Jeff Gaisford, “It is hoped that recent strong flows in the river will have shifted sufficient quantities of the floating vegetation downstream or even washed it out to sea, which should facilitate capture operations.”

He said the setting of traps of various designs has met with no success yet.The crocodiles show little or no interest in the bait, he added, which shows that the animals are possibly well fed.

However, Ezemvelo staff will continue setting traps.

Gaisford said the presence of the reptiles has raised concerns among Dusi Marathon participants, who will be paddling down the river in a few weeks time.

He added that it is “highly unlikely that a crocodile will attack a canoe as they are generally shy animals and will hide in thickets and reed beds when disturbed”.

He asked members of the public, especially children, to stay away from the edge of the river.

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