Trap set for rogue reptile

2009-01-12 00:00

While the existence of crocodiles in the river below Albert Falls Dam is hotly contested, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife yesterday baited a trap to catch the rogue reptile said to be menacing paddlers there.

This follows reports in December by a paddler that he encountered a crocodile downstream from the dam.

“We don’t think it’s a crocodile,” said district conservation officer Benfred Dlamini. “It might be a water monitor lizard. We saw the creature when we got here this morning — and it was not a crocodile.”

Dlamini did not rule out the possibility that a rogue crocodile has been scaring paddlers, but said people sometimes mistake water monitors for crocodiles.

“There are always stories like this around the time of the Dusi. Last year, they said there was a crocodile near Makro, but it turned out to be a water iguana.”

Trevor Kelly, general manager of SA Croc, the farm in the area from where the crocodile allegedly comes, agrees with this.

He said the organisers of the race are enjoying large amounts of free publicity at the expense of the farms in the area.

“We are running a smooth operation here, and every year around this time we are shown in bad light,” he said. “This isn’t even an area where one would expect to find crocodiles. You’ll find them mostly downstream near the Inanda Dam.”

Nevertheless, SA Croc lent EKZNW the cage that was rigged with rotten meat and left at the site where the creature was spotted, which will be checked regularly over the next two weeks.

Dlamini also commented on the dustbin bags of household rubbish they found dumped along the riverbank.

“If there is a crocodile in this river, it’s because of the waste that people are dumping here. People must not dump near the river because crocodiles looking for food will come there.”

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