Trap set for city crocs

2019-11-01 15:00

Duzi Umngeni Conservation Trust’s (Duct) environmental team did a double take on Wednesday when they saw two large crocodiles basking on the banks of the Msunduzi River near the YMCA above the Boshoff Street bridge.

The Duct team immediately called Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, who came out and set up a trap.

Duct environmental worker Simphiwe Sibiya, said they were in the river removing alien invasive plant species when they spotted them.

Sibiya said that, when he spotted the crocs, he called a colleague to confirm what he was seeing. He thought he was joking, but then he also saw the creatures. “I did not expect this. It was very long,” he said.

He said luckily, the crocodiles were on the opposite side of the river from where the team was working. “We were amazed to see them in broad daylight. I think we saw them was because the water was low.”

While unsure where the crocodiles have come from, a source urged people to be aware of their surroundings while paddling or fishing and to report crocodile sightings to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

Duct pollution control officer Sanele Vila­kazi said this was not the first time their workers had spotted crocodiles in the river.

“This impacts on the workers’ safety especially because we work next to the river.

“We have had to abandon that site until the crocodiles have been trapped. We alerted KZN Wildlife [on Wednesday], but unfortunately the traps are still empty.”

It is not unheard of for crocodiles to be found in rivers inland or even in farm dams in KZN. In past years the organisers of the Dusi Canoe Marathon have issued warnings to canoeists to be on the lookout for crocodiles which were spotted along the route.

However, on Thursday, Dusi committee chair Shane le Breton said they had not been alerted of any recent sightings.

Nompumelelo Ngcobo, officer in-charge at the St Lucia Crocodile and Education Centre, who saw the photographs of the crocodiles said the reptiles appeared to be between two to two-and-a-half metres long.

“They look like they are more than 15 years old and they can probably weigh between 250 kg to 300 kg, which is a big threat to the community. Crocodiles are a danger from birth, even baby crocodiles have very sharp teeth. A bite takes very long to heal because their sharp teeth are full of infections,” said Ngcobo.

She said if there are hatchlings around, the crocodile mother will be aggressive.

“Crocodiles have no mercy and they are opportunists. If they see prey, they will clamp down on it with their massive jaws, crush it and then they will swallow the prey whole.”

Ngcobo said while she was also not sure where the crocodiles could have come from, they are known to travel long distances looking for water and prey.

She implored the public and paddlers to avoid going into the river until the crocodiles have been trapped.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  duct

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