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Crocodile alert!

Reports of Jamaicans interfering with reptiles

Jamaica Observer

Friday, April 29, 2011 | 12:01 PM    

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THE National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), is again appealing to the public to avoid crocodile nesting areas, which are typically located in wetlands, following recent reports of the reptiles being interfered with by members of the public.

NEPA said in a statement today that it has been receiving reports of crocodiles being harassed or captured and their hatchlings removed.

"Crocodiles are protected under the Wild Life Protection Act; it is illegal to catch, or kill them. It is also an offence to have a crocodile or any part of the animal in one’s possession. Anyone found guilty of these offences are liable to a fine of up to $100,000 or 12 months imprisonment," said NEPA.

The species found in Jamaica is the American Crocodile and is typically docile, but can become extremely aggressive during the breeding season between February and August when persons venture close to their nesting sites. Crocodile sightings can also occur in residential areas which are close to their natural habitat.

NEPA also urged members of the public to cooperate with NEPA officers when they are investigating crocodile sightings.

The public may call NEPA at 1-888-991-5005 or 754-7540 if crocodiles are seen in areas outside of their natural habitat where they may pose a threat to human activities or if they are being harassed or harmed. Reports may also be made to 119 or the nearest police station.

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