Canoe race: Roaming crocs won't intefere

2010-02-09 00:00

THE crocodiles roaming free at the uMngeni River will not interfere with the Stihl Non Stop Dusi schedule, which takes place this Friday, said the event organisers.

Spokesman for the event Ray de Vries said the attempts to capture the crocodiles spotted during the Dusi Canoe Marathon had been unsuccessful. “The crocs have not been caught yet, although one of the crocodiles believed to be two metres long went into the trap, but the trap door did not close.”

He said it is believed that recent paddling activity has disturbed the crocodiles and they have retreated into bush away from the river during the day.

De Vries said Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is monitoring the situation and will try to capture them after the Stihl Non Stop Dusi.

“If they are not caught in the traps, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife will use a boat and noose pole to catch the reptiles. We appeal again to the public not to tamper with the traps as it could be very dangerous getting between a crocodile and the bait.”

De Vries said that despite the threatening pre­sence of the crocodiles, the event had a great response from the public with “entries pouring in”.

He said the good news for the top paddlers is that, thanks to the generous sponsorship from Stihl, the prize money has increased dramatically. The first crew across the line will win R30 000, which makes it one of the richest canoe races in SA. There is a total of R100 000 to be won in prize money.

The large sum in prize money has attracted interest from many successful canoeists, among them the crew who fi­nished third during the Duzi Canoe Marathon, Thomas Ngidi and Eric Zondi.

“They are in terrific condition and could be the first black crew to win the Non Stop.”

The Non Stop Dusi takes place on Friday, February 12, and follows the traditional Dusi course from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban.

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