March 1, 2013
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is advising the public to exercise extreme caution in areas close to swamps, mangrove wetlands and gullies as it is now the crocodile nesting season.
Persons are also advised to avoid bathing in or near rivers and canals where crocodile nests are located. Areas which may be affected include Portmore, St Catherine; South Clarendon and wetland areas in St Thomas, St Elizabeth and Kingston.
Crocodiles, which nest between March and August are very protective of their young and become more aggressive during this period.
In the meantime, the Agency is appealing to members of the public not to provoke crocodiles. These are sensitive animals which may react dangerously if cornered and attacked. Crocodiles are one of Jamaica’s many endangered species and are protected by law. Capturing or killing the animal is an offence under the Wild Life Protection Act. Persons found guilty of this offence are liable to a fine of up to $100,000 and/or twelve (12) months imprisonment.
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.