May 15, 2011

Measures taken to cut crocodile attacks

A campaign to kill crocodiles and collect their eggs along the Zambezi River in the district of Chemba, in the central province of Sofala, has contributed to a decline in the number of crocodile attacks against people living in the area, according to a report in the Maputo daily "Noticias".

The measures are being carried out by the Agriculture Ministry in partnership with tourism operators. In 2010 a cull took place in the district over three days, during which 51 crocodiles were killed and 15 captured. In addition 9,600 eggs were collected. This year it is planned to collect 15,000 eggs.

Crocodiles are a major threat to people who collect water from the river. In recent years the crocodile population has grown in the Zambezi basin because of a lack of culls. But this year there have only been three recorded attacks in Chemba, none of them fatal. Crocodiles do not only pose a danger to humans, but also attack dogs, goats, pigs and cattle that try to drink from the Zambezi. Warning signs have been erected along the river bank in those areas most prone to crocodile attacks.

"Noticias" claims that along the lower Zambezi, one can see crocodiles of up to six metres in length. This is a considerable exaggeration, since the largest African crocodile on record was shot in Tanzania and measured 6.45 metres. Normally crocodiles do not grow to more than five metres in length, and the Tanzanian case was very much an exception. (AIM)

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