Nile Crocodile Captured in Everglades; Criminal Investigation Opens
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says two other crocs were captured in 2009 and 2012 in the same area as this one.
Since the Nile croc is considered an exotic animal, a criminal investigation has been launched by the FWC.
FWC spokesman Jorge Pino tells New Times the agency is conducting DNA testing to confirm that the 5.5-foot croc is related to the others that were captured in '09 and '12.
Pinto confirmed that the croc had possibly escaped a nearby facility.
"We can't comment on what [the facility] is since this is an ongoing investigation," Pinto tells New Times.
The African Nile crocodile, which is much more aggressive than its smaller cousins, can grow up to 20 feet in length, and some have weighed in at as much as 2,000 pounds.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Nile crocodile is the third-deadliest species in Africa, behind the lion and hippo. While tracking the exact number of attacks has not been concrete due to many nonfatal attacks being reported, it's believed that attacks have exceeded 300 per year since 2000.
The croc captured over the weekend weighs around 37 pounds and was first spotted in April of 2012 on a canal bank on Krome Avenue by a University of Florida botanist who had been helping authorities try to track it down.
The Miami Herald reports that the Swamp Apes, a group that scours the Everglades in search of invasive Burmese pythons, spotted the croc in the wetlands, in the Chekika area, and immediately notified officials.
Officials from different agencies were able to corner the croc and capture it.
The croc was then taken to the Everglades Alligator farm in Homestead while the FWC tries to figure out what to do with it and who is responsible for introducing the deadly animal to the Everglades.