Wednesday, 20. August 2014
07. 07. 14. - 16:00
Police have confirmed the sighting of a two metre long crocodile spotted lounging near an artificial dam on the tourist island of Crete - but admit they have no idea how it got there.
Police and firemen went to the site after reports that the animal had been spotted bathing in the sun at the Potami Dam near the Greek city of Rethymno and were stunned to discover that it was completely true – and took this video of the beast to prove it.
Officials said had they not seen the video they too would not have believed it was true but it clearly shows a crocodile, and records its movements proving that it was alive.
The Director of the Department of Transportation and Hydraulic Engineering Projects Management at the Crete Development Organisation, Vangelis Mamangakis, said: "At first we thought it was a joke, but once we realised that the witnesses were backed up with camera evidence we started investigating the incident, and working out how to catch it."
He added that another concern was that there were indications that was not just one crocodile, but two. He said that two reptile experts have been called in to help set up a trap to capture the crocodile and the lake has also been sealed off to prevent locals unwittingly falling prey to the crocodile. One of the experts is reptologist Petros Lymberakis, a specialist for the Museum of Natural History who will come to the area to assist in locating and dealing with the reptile.
The bid to capture the crocodile was given a special urgency after local media reported that the two crocodiles could even breed, leading to fears that there might be other crocodiles.
Crocodiles are not native to Europe although there have occasionally been similar incidents. Firemen and river police in Austria for example were called to rescue a South American crocodile from the Danube in 2001. The animal was caught and later handed over to Vienna Zoo.
Mamagakis believes that the crocodile may have been kept as a pet at a home or by a visiting zoo and was subsequently abandoned.
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