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Ripley the Morelet’s Crocodile Euthanized June 1, 2010

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Press Release – American Crocodile Education Sanctuary – June 1, 2010 – A bright new bird chirping morning it is in the jungle here in Punta Gorda, but a very sad one too. Ripley, the tortured Morelet’s Crocodile the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) and the Belize Forest Department rescued from Corozal in April, will have to be euthanized today.

    The stress Ripley endured, along with the severity of his injuries has caused him to contract septicemia. Ripley is now suffering and death is inevitable. ACES takes condolence in knowing that at least Ripley got to spend his last few weeks swimming around and interacting with other crocs, as opposed to dying chained to a tree in the surf of the Corozal Bay as a spectacle. Although he is very sick, he still kept his individual croc personality. Few got to see him, and those that did felt his anguish and prayed he’d recover. One could look beyond Ripley’s ’empty eyes’ and actually see the life he so effortlessly tried to cling onto, making one feel the need inside them to be alive.

    The question we here at ACES now have to ask ourselves, are we holding onto him for his benefit of survival or for our indefinable reasons of selfishness? It is time to say goodbye to one of Gods dearest creatures and we hope and pray that his strength to survive can teach the people of Belize how fortunate they are to have this magnificent species in their waters and to take pride in all the wildlife that is found here; for each species, however minute or dangerous, plays a vital role in their very existence by keeping Belize’s precious environment in balance.

    ACES asks that everyone who reads this, no matter what country you live in, take a moment today to stop and take in this amazing World we live in; and how just like Ripley, no matter what bad we do to it as humans, it struggles to survive to keep us alive. And remember, that if we don’t start changing our behaviors collectively to treat it with more pride, someday, it too will no longer exist.

    As a result, and due to being unequipped to properly tend to the severity of Ripley’s injuries, combined with the exhausting search of relatively minimal funding available for crocodiles (which I attribute to their lack of fur), ACES is willing to try to start a modern facility in Punta Gorda to treat wildlife and local pets, a HUMANE Society. ACES owners will give the use of a personally owned concrete building in PG Town toward the cause if we can get enough supports to make this facility come true. If humanity to animals is the lesson of this story, let’s start with all the neglected pets due to poverty and lack of availability of assistance and materials. And once such a facility is in place, someday it may also save the life a wild croc, or a wild fox like Foxie. 

    Thank you, with all our aching hearts at ACES, to all of you who assisted with Ripley’s rescue, the rescues of all the crocs here at ACES, and all of you who support and have assisted directly and indirectly with ACES’s Croc-Crusade. 

Rest in peace our dear friend, Ripley. 

http://www.americancrocodilesanctuary.org

Other stories about Ripley can be found at:

http://sanpedrosun.blogspot.com/2010/04/tortured-and-left-for-dead-aces-rescues.html

http://sanpedrosun.blogspot.com/2010/05/ripleys-last-chance.html

Ripley’s Last Chance May 8, 2010

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Ripley was found chained and tortured on the beach at Corozal Bay.

Editors Note: Readers first learned about Ripley on April 19th when we posted the story on our blog, http://sanpedrosun.blogspot.com/2010/04/tortured-and-left-for-dead-aces-rescues.html, and the article was then published in our April 22nd issue (Vol.20-16). Held captive, tortured, shot and left for dead on the shore of the Corozal Bay, ACES came to the croc’s rescue. The injured croc has won over the hearts of many and several of our readers have inquired about his progress. Although Ripley’s fate is still unknown we are happy to share the following update from ACES.

Submitted by Cherie Chenot-Rose, marine biologist, ACES – Today, May 4th, Ripley was given his last chance at life at ACES/ American Crocodile Education Sanctuary. Ripley was rescued on April 15th by ACES from his three weeks of lock and chains in Corozal Bay. With the severity of the injuries inflicted during his illegal captivity, no one really expected Ripley to survive the long trip to ACES near Punta Gorda Town, let alone persevere this long. “It is Ripley’s strong will and apparent endurance that even led us to give him a chance,” states Biologist Cherie Rose, “ordinarily an animal abused this severely would be put down; but there’s something in Ripley and you can just see his determination to live.”

This morning, Behaviorist Vince Rose caught Ripley and force fed him for the third and final time. Scientific measurements were taken and a complete health update assessment was completed. Although Ripley is still not out of the woods, some of his injuries showed signs of healing and no visible infections were found. It is Ripley’s behavior that has deemed him one more opportunity to feed on his own. He reacts to the approach of humans and shows some signs of recovery despite his critical injuries. So, this morning Ripley was moved from the holding pen, where all crocs arriving at ACES are first placed for assessment, and released into a half acre containment area at ACES and swam freely for the first time since he was illegally caught in Corozal over a month ago.

Ripley is force fed a third time before the big move.

Ripley receives a close health inspection before being released into his new habitat.

Measuring at 9 ft 3 in, Ripley is a freshwater Morelet’s Crocodile and protected by the Belize Wildlife Protection Act (Chapter 220). ACES is a permitted facility in southern Belize which has rescued over 40 crocs now country-wide. As a species, Morelet’s are considered vulnerable to extinction throughout their entire range.

Ripley is released into his new home with hopes that once he gets more exercise swimming and interacting with other crocs he will regain his appetite.

Off and swimming!

Now swimming freely in his new habitat, Ripley is still fighting for his life. ACES’s Biologists believe that the increased activity of swimming and social interaction with other rescued crocs in the facility, all of which are much smaller than Ripley, may stimulate an increase in appetite and entice him to start feeding on his own. “We will observe his behavior for the next few weeks, and if there is not an increase in his daily activities and feeding behaviors, we will still be forced to put him down in the name of humanity,” states Vince.

Even though he is blind (from human torture), and possibly deaf in one ear from the bullet wound he is recovering from, crocs have exceptional hearing and sense of smell and possess integumentary sense organs (ISOs) sensory cells in the outer layer of their skin that allows them to detect environmental changes and underwater proximities.

What is truly amazing is that even though Ripley is totally blind, shortly after he was released into his new habitat, he actually came back out of the water and returned to the gate which he was brought in through, searching for a way out. Cherie would like to say, “There’s a lot of people praying for Ripley and ACES would like to thank all those who have supported and assisted both directly and indirectly with the rescue efforts including the BFD, the Corozal Police Dept., and The San Pedro Sun. My only regret is that ACES is not better equipped to handle such extensive wounds such as the gunshot injury Ripley suffers from. Hopefully in time, with the help of donors, sponsors and grants, ACES will be able to turn an already existing 20 x 15 storage shed into a laboratory fully equipped with proper medical supplies to handle severely injured crocodiles and other wildlife. It is only by working together that we can preserve Belize’s wildlife for future generations.”

For more information about ACES and how you can donate to their facility please visit their website at www.americancrocodilesanctuary.org.

Photos submitted by ACES