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.