Nile Crocodile Corralled in Everglades Canal, Removed From National Park

Thursday, Mar 13, 2014  |  Updated 12:48 AM EDT
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Wildlife Officials Search for West Nile Crocodile on the Loose

Courtesy National Park Service

The crocodile was spotted in the Chekika area of Everglades National Park.

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Wildlife Officials Search for West Nile Crocodile on the Loose

The mystery began when a planter spotted a small crocodile near a canal in March 2011. Jenny Ketterlin Eckles, a wildlife biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Miami-Dade College ecology professor Chris Migliaccio spoke about a West Nile crocodile loose in South Florida.
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A Nile crocodile was captured and removed from Everglades National Park recently after volunteers called the Swamp Apes spotted the reptile, officials said.

Members of the Swamp Apes – who are authorized to removal exotic animals from the park – told the park that they saw the juvenile croc while they were conducting regular surveys for another noted Florida Everglades predator, Burmese Pythons.

The crocodile, which is about 5.5 feet long and weighs 37.4 pounds, was seen in the Chekika area, which is currently closed to the public, the National Park Service said in a news release.

Swamp Apes volunteers, park officials and representatives from the University of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission teamed up on Sunday to capture the croc. They corralled it over several hours into a small section of canal and caught it.

“Exotic reptiles continue to challenge the health of South Florida ecosystems we are charged with protecting,” Superintendent Dan Kimball said in the news release. “Unfortunately federal and state agencies in Florida spend over 80 million dollars a year to remove invasive plants and animals to protect our natural resources. Our ongoing partnership with federal and state agencies and volunteers to remove exotic plants and animals from protected areas is essential!”

The FWC is investigating how the croc escaped or was released into the Everglades.

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