CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – Not everyone is on board with catching a pair of elusive crocs that lurk in the brackish canals of Gables by the Sea—one of them which bit a man and woman over the weekend.
Alejandro Jimenez,26, of Doral, is in good condition at South Miami Hospital after being bitten in the hands and torso. Lisset Rendon, 23, of Miami, was treated at the hospital and released after
being bitten in the back and shoulder area, authorities said.
For a third day wildlife trappers, hired by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, have been out in the canals, trying to catch the crocs—primarily overnight which is feeding time for the reptiles.
“Obviously we are protectors of Florida’s natural resources but we protect Florida’s residents first and we want to make sure we remove these crocodiles from this area,” said Jorge Pino with FWC Tuesday.
Monday evening trappers managed to hook one of the crocs, which they estimated to be about 11 feet in length, but it managed to get away.
While some residents want to see the crocs caught, others are doing what they can to stop the trappers.
Jack Falk cringes when he sees trappers working to capture the crocodiles in his neighborhood. Falk treasures the crocs—especially the 11-foot one the neighborhood calls “Pancho.”
“We have a personal attachment to him, we go out there in the evenings in the backyard, we see him cruising around. He’s not bothering anybody,” said Falk.
Falk’s bond with the neighborhood croc is so strong, he admitted to CBS4’s Natalia Zea that he blasted rock music Tuesday evening, hoping to warn Pancho while the trappers were working to catch him.
One FWC officer called Falk’s move sabotage.
“It was nice music and hopefully Pancho was hearing it and maybe deciding he should go underwater and not surface all evening,” said Falk.
For three days, trapper Todd Hardwick has been trying to flush Pancho out of his favorite resting spots to capture him. Hardwick believes Pancho bit the man and woman over the weekend. He said that belly marks on the ground from the site of the attack to the canal where Pancho is now swimming connects him to the incident.
FWC is not allowing Hardwick to speak on camera, but he tells me he knows Pancho very well—and Pancho knows Hardwick.
Hardwick has caught Pancho twice before and has relocated him to the Keys—34 miles away. Both times, the croc has made his way back to the canal and now Pancho knows the trapper’s tricks.
Wednesday morning, the traps set using pig liver were ripped open, the bait eaten and the line cut.
Pancho isn’t the only croc that lives in the area. Amateur video shows another crocodile brazenly swimming toward a dock while people stood on it.
Falk does not think Pancho is to blame for the bite—he believes the smaller croc is the culprit.
“They don’t have any proof at all that Pancho was involved in that attack,” Falk said.
But many other homeowners don’t share the same sentiments toward Pancho or the other croc, and want the reptiles out.
“They should be relocated, even if they come back, as often as needed. There are people, there are small children, kids in this neighborhood.”
The trappers told Zea that any croc over nine feet that they catch in the area, because of the bites, will be put in captivity. They said that animals will be placed in either a zoo-type facility or on private land with at least five acres—that’s if they catch them, of course.
[display-posts category=”news” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]