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National Geographic joins the pursuit of the Cretan crocodile

14 July 2014 / 15:07:20  GRReporter
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Cretan crocodile Sifis became a celebrity just ten days after his existence on a Greek island became known. The campaign to capture him already involves the prestigious National Geographic magazine, whose activist Olivier Behra has personally volunteered to participate in the campaign. Behra, who lives on the island of Madagascar and has extensive experience in the research and study of crocodiles, spoke via Skype with Vangelis Mamagakis, director of the organization for the management and maintenance of the dam in Rethymno.
     "He told us that he had learnt about the case from the Internet and that he had his own method for approaching the reptile. We will wait another week to see if the crocodile will fall into the traps we have set and then we will decide what to do with Behra’s proposal," said Mamagakis. A number of traps with meat were set in the dam in Rethymno late last week but Sifis has so far demonstrated how cunning he is by avoiding them.

     Meanwhile, scientists from Europe and Greece appealed that the only living crocodile in Europe should live in the wild in order for researchers to observe and study it. Tens of Greeks and foreigners have recently visited the dam in Rethymno to see for themselves the natural wonder and tourist agencies are beginning to organize boat tours around the dam.
     Local residents however are not so excited about the presence of Sifis in the dam. Those who live near the water say they fear for their lives. Others warn about the security of the groups of children and students who every year come to the dam on summer camps and bathe in its waters. "The scientists are not the ones who will decide on the future of the crocodile. Personally I am strongly opposed to the crocodile living in the wild. Tomorrow someone may decide to put a hippo in the lake," said Petros Limberakis, curator at the Natural History Museum.
     At least so far, Sifis however seems to be a vegetarian as he has not reached for the chickens and other meat baits that are set in the traps. He appears from time to time to be photographed by the photographers who are patrolling the lake, and then hides in peace.

Tags: CrocodileRethymnoCrete IslandSifisNational Geographic Olivier Behra
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