Heres How This Croc Whisperer Is Protecting Jamaicas Largest Predator

first_img Watch: Crocodile Snatches Angler’s Catch in Australian National ParkMan Finds Surgical Plate in 15-Foot Crocodile’s Stomach Lawrence Henriques, a Jamaican native who is known as the “croc whisperer,” is working to protect his country’s largest predator at a new sanctuary focused on animal conservation.As a croc aficionado, Henriques has devoted his life to protecting endangered reptiles, including the Jamaican crocodile, which has been on Jamaica’s national coat of arms since 1661 and populates the southern coast of the nation, said a Global Wildlife Conservation press release. Unfortunately, habitat destruction and illegal poaching have decreased the presence of these reptiles in Jamaica over the past decade, and Henriques estimates that there are only 700 crocodiles left in the nation.In order to protect Jamaican crocodiles, Henriques, along with the Global Wildlife Conservation, the IUCN SSC Crocodile Specialist Group, and the Jones Family, recently established the Holland Bay Crocodile Sanctuary, a new crocodile sanctuary located in one of Jamaica’s nationally designated protected areas.Lawrence Henriques holds a baby Jamaican crocodile. (Photo Credit: Robin Moore / Global Wildlife Conservation)The team was granted permission by the government of Jamaica to develop the 40,000-square-foot crocodile sanctuary, which is located in one of the least trafficked parts of the island. The sanctuary, which is currently home to 78 crocodiles that are mostly babies, aims to be a center for monitoring and protecting crocodiles in the 12,000-acre Holland Bay ecosystem and other key crocodile areas across the nation. It’s set to become the official rescue and rehabilitation center for the Jamaican crocodile and serve as a facility for captive breeding, with the long-term goal of generating offspring for reintroduction into the wild.Even though some people think that Jamaican crocodiles are aggressive animals, Henriques aims to change perspectives by educating adults and children on these reptiles and their importance to biodiversity in the nation.A baby Jamaican crocodile at the Holland Bay Crocodile Sanctuary. (Photo Credit: Robin Moore / Global Wildlife Conservation)“This is not just about the crocodiles, this is part of us. It’s part of who we are and who we want to be as people. That’s why the crocodile is on our coat of arms—it signifies survival when the odds are against you—it is a symbol of resiliency and strength,” Henriques said. “Things have gotten turned around, and my passion is to change people’s perception to save our legacy.”More on Python Devours Entire Crocodile in Horrifying Swamp PhotosWatch: Crocodile Crawls Into Boat in Miami, Evades Wildlife OfficialsTerrifying ‘Death Roll’ Almost Universal Among Crocodile Species Stay on targetlast_img read more

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