Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Crocodile Heads For Palmdale

Croc Returned From South Carolina Capture

PALMDALE, FL. -- Allen Register, of Gatorama, in Palmdale, the rural community west of Moore Haven along US27, returns home from South Carolina Thursday morning with an American crocodile caught recently in the surf off the Isle of Palms in South Carolina by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources' permitted trappers.

American crocodiles live in coastal areas throughout the Caribbean, and occur at the northern end of their range in southern Florida. Over 2,000 of these animals can be found in southern Florida living in brackish and saltwater areas. DNR biologists are not sure why the crocodile was found in South Carolina waters, and suspect the animal may have been brought to this location by a private collector or exhibitor, as the area is far from its normal range. 

To get to the bottom of the mystery the croc will undergo DNA testing at Gatorama to try to find the answer to that question. A sample will be taken Thursday, and then sent to Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission for analysis.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials transferred custody of the croc to Gatorama and Allen Register, Wednesday, at Roark�s Reptile Safari in North Charleston, where it had been held for safe keeping following its capture.

The six foot crocodile will be transported in a large wooden crate straight through from South Carolina and will be DNA tested before it�s release.  It will be held in a pool viewable from the animal park�s walkway for a short quarantine period before joining the resident breeding colony of American Crocodiles at Gatorama.

Gatorama is known world wide in the industry as the leader in captive breeding of American Crocodiles. It will be raised in captivity in a natural swampy habitat, as part of a secondary breeding colony at the Gatorama facility that specializes in alligator and crocodile outreach and educational tours.

The American crocodile was federally listed as endangered in 1975 when it was estimated that fewer than 300 lived in Florida. The American crocodile has since been upgraded to a threatened species due to its progress and recovery.

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