‘Highway’ the croc gives determined catchers the runaround

2010-05-17 00:00

THE crocodile that was spotted in a dam at Ashburton last week has been caught.

Local reptile specialist Mark Enslin said he received a permit from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to remove the crocodile from the farm.

“On Friday we set out to capture the croc and spent the whole night at the dam.”

Enslin said he was assisted by work colleagues Warrant Officer Riaan van Rooyen, Benfred Dlamini of EKZNW and honorary officers from Pietermaritzburg.

“We had seen the croc through the night, but it kept giving us the runaround. It would come out and then disappear again over and over again. We wanted to catch it, but it is no idiot. We think it is used to people coming after it.”

The group whiled away the time over a braai and a few beers to ward off the cold.

Enslin said that while they were at the dam trying to nab the wily croc, other people arrived also wanting to catch it. “But we had the permit to catch it so we asked them to leave.”

Enslin said they nicknamed the croc “Highway” because of its proximity to the N3.

“There are two more crocs in Ashburton we still need to remove.” Enslin would not divulge exactly where the other crocs are as he fears that they may be caught by people who realise they are worth more dead than alive. “Crocodile skin is worth a lot of money.”

After the group had spent Friday night at the dam with no luck, they left the site and returned late on Saturday afternoon to set a baited trap. Again they saw the croc, but again it evaded capture.

“We sat patiently and waited for the elusive croc. Early on Sunday morning we captured it in the trap and I identified it as a Nile crocodile and not as an exotic that some people believed it was.”

He said while Nile crocs, which are classified as endangered, are indigenous to this part of the world, he believes that it came from someone’s collection.

“I would love to know where it came from. It’s between three to four years old and is a metre-and-a-half long.”

Enslin was concerned that there are children’s footprints around the dam.

The croc has been taken to Enslin’s home for safekeeping, and he is awaiting instructions from EKZNW to transport it to the croc centre at iSimangaliso Wetland Park’s St Lucia Estuary.

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