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July 30
18:18 2018

The alarming emergence of reports of crocodiles being directly and indirectly fed as well as being molested for tourism attraction has prompted the Belize Forest Department to issue a public advisory on the dangers of those actions as well as charges that could follow in the event of such.

According to the department, wildlife species are fully protected under the Wildlife Protection Act which stipulates that no person shall hunt or even attempt to hunt, kill or molest by any means any species of wildlife in Belize.

In such regards, both crocodile species in Belize are listed under the schedule and therefore become illegal to kill, capture, feed, pet, or otherwise interfere with its eggs. It is also illegal to be in possession of any crocodile parts such as skin, meat or teeth or to carry out any trade of crocodile parts.

Personnel from the department say that the feeding of crocodiles is a dangerous practice as it increase the risk of crocodiles becoming accustomed to human interaction and relating people to food, which in some instances can lead to serious injuries.

While the department acknowledges that crocodiles are a big part of tourism, safe practices must be exercised when coming into contact with crocs during a tour. Specifically, the department urges tour guides to discourage feeding, touching or removing wildlife species.

A representative from the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) told the Reporter that usually crocodiles are afraid of humans; however that fear diminishes when the animal is fed.

The representative informed that earlier this month they were called out to the DFC area of San Pedro to relocate a croc after reports were received that someone was feeding the animal with the hope of using it for illegal poaching.

Also, earlier this month two Belize City men were charged after they were found with two buckets of crocodile meat.

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