February 12, 2013
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is appealing to the public to refrain from killing crocodiles. The petition comes on the heels of recent reports of crocodile killings in Black River, St. Elizabeth. The Agency has received reports of similar incidents in St. Thomas and the Portland Bight Protected Area, which encompasses portions of Clarendon and St. Catherine.
The bodies of two crocodiles were recently observed floating in the Lower Morass section of the Black River.
Crocodiles are one of Jamaica’s many endangered animal species and are protected by law. Capturing or killing the animal is an offence under the Wild Life Protection Act (section 20). Persons found guilty of this offence are liable to a fine of up to $100,000 or twelve (12) months imprisonment. Further, it is an offence under the Endangered Species (Protection, Conservation and Regulation of Trade) Act (section 40) to engage in the trade of crocodiles whether dead or alive without a permit. Persons found guilty of this offence would be liable to a fine of up to $2,000,000 and/or a term of imprisonment of two (2) years.
Manager of the Enforcement Branch at NEPA, Richard Nelson, says the Agency is monitoring the situation “NEPA will be vigorously investigating these reports and persons found committing the offence will be dealt with under the law.”
Members of the public who witness crocodiles being threatened or harmed are being urged to report these incidents to the NEPA Toll free line 1-888-991-5005, 119, or the nearest police station.