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Tortured and Left for Dead, ACES Rescues Corozal Croc April 19, 2010

Posted by San Pedro Sun in Uncategorized.
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    Last Thursday, April 15th, the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) team, biologist Cherie Chenot-Rose and animal behaviorist Vince Rose, traveled from Punta Gorda to Corozal Town to rescue a captured crocodile. Traversing the entire length of the country in six hours, and stopping in Belmopan to pick up Wildlife Officer Rasheda Sampson of the Belize Forest Department they arrived at the scene of a brutal case of animal abuse.
    The croc, which had been in captivity for an estimated three weeks, was literally chained and locked to a nearby coconut tree where it lay in the surf of the Corozal Bay. Surrounded in seaweed and garbage, and eaten by sand fleas, the creature had been tormented for weeks by onlookers who managed to poke both its eyes out, shoot it in the head, pull out most of its teeth and was left to slowly die. Close to starvation and dehydrated from the lack of fresh water the animal demonstrated little resistance when the team proceed with their rescue. With no key to unlock the chained creature, measures were taken to break open the lock. On initial examination it was confirmed that the male croc was a freshwater Morelet’s Crocodile. It was speculated that it came from one of the two nearby rivers that empty into the bay. The animal was most likely looking for food in the bay area when it was captured and because it is essentially a fresh water animal the salinity of the bay water was an added hardship for the animal to endure while held captive on the beach.
    Once the croc was contained it was loaded into a large PVC culvert which was secured onto the flatbed of the ACES truck. The animal was then hosed down with fresh water to assure its comfort while traveling. Although it was uncertain if the animal would survive the drive back to Punta Gorda the ACES team decided, based on the survival stamina of crocodiles in general, that it was worth a try.
    Close to seven hours later they arrived in the dark to the ACES compound in Punta Gorda where the croc was unloaded into a solitary holding pen. Although blind and dazed the animal quickly moved into the fresh water pool where a chicken meal, fortified with vitamins and minerals was left in hopes that he would eat.
    On Friday the croc did not visibly show increased signs of stress but his injuries (especially the exit wound from where he was shot) continued to fester. With the chicken meal untouched, it was decided that if he did not eat in the next 24 hours they would have to resort to force feeding the animal.
    Unfortunately he did not eat and on Saturday morning the team contained the animal and inserted a large PVC tube into his mouth where they were able to shove pieces of chicken down the crocs throat. Hoping that once the croc had a meal he would find new strength to survive the plan is to wait until today and force feed him again. Based on research from previous rescues of injured crocs the ACES team has found that after a couple of forced meals the animal usually starts to eat again. If this croc, which was named Ripley after a recent donor to the ACES facility, does not start eating after the forced-feeding regiment the team, with permission from the Belize Forest Department,  may decide to euthanize the animal.
    Although injured beyond any possibility of wild relocation, the ACES team hopes that if Ripley can return to good health he can live out his life serving his species as a means of educating the public about the horrors of animal abuse as well as crocodilian conservation.
    Two species of crocodiles reside in Belize, the American Crocodile and Morelet’s, and both are currently listed as endangered under the United States Endangered Species Act and are also considered threatened by the Coastal Zone Management Program, Department of Fisheries, and the Government of Belize due to a number of threats.
   The San Pedro Sun will continue to report on Ripley’s status and you can read more about this story in Thursday’s issue. For more information about ACES please visit their website at www.americancrocodilesanctuary.org

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1. James Tough - May 29, 2010

This croc was captured by the Kuylen’s who own Hailys Beach in Corozal Town. It was chained to a tree near their bar.
They were charging $5. for persons to see and toture this inocent animal.
When reported to the Corozal Police they just laughed and said that someone should kill the croc before it eats someone.


The owners shoould be charged with animal cruelty !!!

Celida - June 5, 2010

It would be very nice if people would stop listening to gossip and stop accusing without knowing the truth. This is why people get in trouble for no reason. It is very bad to judge others. I am sure you would not like to be judged when that person don’t even know you. i hope you have a better day.

2. Cherie Chenot-Rose - June 1, 2010

Dear Mr. Tough,
Please make an official report to Wildlife Officers Rasheda Sampson or Dre Lopez of the Belize Forest Department. #822-1524.
Anyone else having any information dealing with this situation please notify your local authority immediately and/or email acesnpo@hughes.net. Your anonymity will be respected.

3. Cherie Chenot-Rose - June 3, 2010

The BFD has been notified of the above situation. They need witnesses to speak up in order to be able to press charges of animal cruelty. Please, anyone having any information call the BFD. People need to be held accountable for their actions. Please also remember that children learn by example.

4. Be Kind Belize - June 5, 2010

I agree wholeheartedly with Cherie. It is well documented that children who are exposed to violence towards animals are more likely to become violent offenders as adolescents and adults. Please make sure everyone in your area realises that this is not about people dealing with a ‘nasty’ crocodile, but about ignorant and cruel people stealing one of the natural resources of Belize, an endangered species, and exploiting it for their own profit. People who are capable of this sort of cruelty are probably involved in other criminal activity. It should also be stressed that Belizean law makes this an offence. Please get involved in educating your community, so that this sort of thing will never happen again.

5. Underhill - June 5, 2010

Must have been a pretty dangerous critter to be overpowered and chained like that. Please note sarcasm.

My wife and I just visited Corozal. Had a lovely time, met some wonderful folks, glad we did not see this.

6. Celida - June 5, 2010

I have read all the above comments. It is crazy that it takes one malicious person to make an accusation and it spreads like fire. First of all that Croc washed up injuried and tired. It was never caught or abused by anyone at Haileys beach, on the contrary, an immediate call was made for help. The HB owners were advised that they would not be able to pick up the croc until the following Tuesday. They advised how to feed the croc and that they would come pick it up and care for it, four days after it washed up a shore, not sure where this person got three weeks from. Yes, the public was free to go see the croc, but a fee was never charged. The croc was taken care as best as possible, it was set free to go and had no strength to do so, so it stayed ashore, it was only chained for public safety until it was taken away and was not left to die as posted in the above comments. HB owners had compassion for the croc so they should not be condemned for trying their best. Several people advised them to shoot the croc, but they said they will take care of it until it was picked up. Not nice of whomever started this ridiculous rumour about the croc being caught and brutalized and left for dead. So for all croc lovers, be assured that no harm was done to this poor croc for the owner is an animal lover. It is sad that he was injuried by God knows whom, but it was not done by any of Hailey’s Beach staff.

7. Wildlife Officer - June 7, 2010

I am a Wildlife Officer at the Belize Forest Department and the call was made to me by the owner of Hailey’s Beach. According to the owner the crocodile was seen swimming in the water in front of the establishment and was caught because he was afraid that the crocodile would be a threat to people swimming in the area over the easter holiday. Because of the lack of transportation at the time (around 4:30pm) the call was made to the office, Mr. Kuylen was informed that we would not be able to respond to the report until the following week. He then asked what he should do with the crocodile and I informed him to release it. I informed him that the crocodile was moving through the area and would most likely disappear after a short time. Because he was uncomfortable with the crocodile being released back in front of his establishment our phone conversation ended with an understanding that he would release the animal in a lake on the other side of town. I also informed him that if it was an American crocodile it would find its way back eventually and that there was really no need to remove the animal from its habitat unless it proved to be a threat to people (which it didn’t). I would like to say officially that the Belize Forest Department did not authorize anyone from Hailey’s Beach to keep and feed the crocodile as it is an offense under the Wildlife Protection Act of Belize to do so. The Wildlife Program recognized that our late response to the report contributed to the situation and that is why Mr. Kuylen was not charged for holding the crocodile. However, if during that time, the animal was abused and mistreated please make a report to myself or Mr. Andre Lopez at the Belize Forest Department and we will investigate. Our numbers are 822-1524 or 822-2079.

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