Farming, all around the world, is a difficult job at the best of times, but South African farmers can add wildlife to their list of challenges to be handled.
The protection of the farm workers is a concern in addition to the welfare of the crocodile. In circumstances like this it’s always desired to move the crocodile into a refuge. The wildlife jurisdiction in the area is approached and the appropriate district officer adds yet another job to his ever growing list.
These re-location exercises are extremely frequently lessons in extreme patience.
Crocodiles aren’t amenable to polite requests to re-locate so other steps need to be employed. Darting them with a tranquillizer medication isn’t an option as they have a tendency to dive to the security of the base of the dam and all hopes of grabbing them disappear.
If they’re really small they can frequently be captured by hand from a ship by means of a flashlight to attract them. Their fascination causes them to rise to the surface where they can be caught and crated.
The larger ones need a specially constructed trap. The trap is baited with something yummy to a crocodile and left in the water’s edge. The trap must be assessed on a daily basis in order to not endanger the life span of a trapped croc with him in the trap for quite a long time. As he catches the meat that the mechanism is discharged closing the door and we’ve got him.
Now that’s the simple, boring part. Getting him out of the snare and prepared to make the trip to his new home is another challenge.
The first step would be to drop a noose through the snare and around his upper jaw. This may be time consuming if he chooses to not co-operate. After his top jaw is fastened the trap is opened and he’s pulled out. Although this sounds like one must have hands of steel it’s not the case in any respect. The muscles which a crocodile uses to open his limbs aren’t very robust and, as long as you get your hands around closed jaws, it’s not tough to hold them shut.
This is certainly not a 1 man job since the thrashing tail, which can be more dangerous than the jaws at this time, needs to be held securely or the”jockey” could be thrown well clear with a single swipe. A rope noose is slipped over both limbs and the jaws are taped shut. At this time the croc generally gives up and he’s tied up and loaded onto the vehicle ready to begin the journey to his new home.
Fortunately there are lots of conservation minded farmers that are ready to initiate a capture to be able to safeguard a crocodile.