Shooting of Umgeni crocodile upsets Durban residents

2013-05-06 00:00

ANIMAL lovers have spoken out against the killing of the three metre Umgeni crocodile last week, saying it was a tragedy.

The reptile was most often spotted sunning itself near the Windsor Golf Course.

Durban resident Hilton Greef said it was wonderful to have the reptile living near a thriving city.

“It hadn’t attacked anybody in four years; why should it attack somebody now? It’s a beautiful creature of nature, it’s been here since time immemorial,” he said.

East Coast Radio quoted Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife as saying that although there had been no reports of crocodile attacks in the area, it was not able to capture it, and felt it was unsafe to leave the crocodile where it was.

Ray de Vries, a spokesperson for the Dusi Canoe Marathon, was equally saddened by the turn of events. He said he had spotted about five crocodiles in the Umgeni over the years, and they have never posed a threat to people.

He said: “I was involved with the Dusi for 19 years and no one has ever been attacked, has been threatened, has had any skirmishes with the crocodile.

“In fact the crocodiles are much more scared of human beings.

“We’ve had black mamba bites, we’ve had all sorts of things, but never ever had we had any hassles with the crocodile,” he said.

Lance Peenick, a local wildlife expert, said: “People are often surprised that there are crocodile in the Umgeni, but crocodiles can travel long distances and they will move due to population pressure or when there are floodwaters.

“A crocodile can leave an estuary like St Lucia and move south.”

There may be relic populations living in dams and tributaries that find their way to areas where they were locally extinct.

There are those rogue crocodiles that escape from crocodile farms and there are unwanted pets that get dumped in rivers.

Crocodiles occur in the upper Umgeni near Albert Falls and have been seen in Inanda dam.

Canoesists had sporadically spotted them in the Umgeni in the past few decades, said Peenick.

Game rangers from Ezemvelo located the reptile sunning himself on one of the banks of the river on Thursday and shot it dead.

Ezemvelo communications manager Musa Mntambo said: “When the crocodile was first spotted, we tried to capture it, but all our efforts failed.

“This year we issued a permit to destroy it as a preventative measure.”


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