April 4, 2011
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), is appealing to members of the public to desist from feeding or harassing crocodiles nesting in the wetlands along the Hellshire Main Road in St Catherine.
Reports have been received by NEPA that passersby are feeding and harassing crocodiles in the area. This species of crocodile which is the American Crocodile is typically docile, but can become aggressive during the breeding season (February - August) when persons venture close to their nesting sites. Crocodile sightings can occur in residential areas which are close to their natural habitat.
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 twelve (12) months imprisonment.
NEPA is also advising members of the public to cooperate with NEPA Officers and Urban Development Corporation (UDC) Rangers who have been monitoring nesting sites in the Hellshire Area (which is part of the Portland Bight Protected Area).
Members of 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.