Croc Expert Goes to Thailand to Help Rare Siamese Crocodile
Updated: Mar 12, 2019
September 2nd, Vincent Rose, Crocodile Behavioral Expert, Co- Founder of Belize’s American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES), and a member of Cape Coral Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 9-10, captured and relocated a critically endangered six foot Siamese crocodile named “Jerry” in the village of Baan Tuek, Sukhothai, North Thailand. Siamese crocodiles are listed by IUCN as critically endangered., and field surveys estimate that there are less than 250 wild, adult, Siamese crocodiles in our World today.
Founded in 2006 and operating under the authority of the Belize Forest Department (BFD), Government of Belize, ACES is a non-profit organization, committed to the conservation of critical wetland habitats and protected species, specifically Crocodilians, via scientific research and education to preserve wildlife for future generations.
Given as a gift to a village in Sukhothai, Thailand over 5 years ago, Jerry has been housed in a small concrete “cell” with very little fresh water. Jerry's owners approached Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary - BLES, seeking a new home for their pet. That's when long-term BLES volunteer, David Owen, began fundraising for Jerry's transition to the sanctuary. David, born in Ontario, Canada, knew that he must find Jerry a healthier home. Worldwide, when animals like Jerry are relocated from poor living conditions they typically end up at breeding facilities or animal shows. David and BLES Founder, Katherine Connor, decided that the only way to ensure he wasn't sent to a breeding centre, research facility, or crocodile tourist attraction was to build an enclosure at Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary (BLES) where Jerry could live out the rest of his life in peace. Although BLES is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation facility, currently caring for 17 rescued elephants on 750 acres of land, the sanctuary has never turned its back on an animal of any species. The santuary is home to 25 dogs, 40 cats, 10 tortoises, 3 wild boar, 2 macaque monkeys, 2 cows, and soon, one crocodile. “Every life is important and every life is worth fighting for.” ~ David Owen With grand new habitat has been completed at BLES thanks to all of Jerry’s donors! David, having reached out internationally to crocodilian conservationists all over the World since last April, has request Vince Rose of ACES, Belize, to lead Jerry’s relocation to his new home to ensure the safety of Jerry and the team moving him. Jerry’s big move is scheduled for Sept. 2nd. Vince will safely capture Jerry in his tiny concrete prison, place him in the shade to collect scientific data and take Jerry’s measurements, then sex Jerry to be sure he is a he, and finally, with the help of the community, transport him to his new home at BLES. Everyone involved, including the children who decorated Jerry’s new home for him, are all very excited to see Jerry to be in such a pristine habitat with sufficient fresh water so that he can freely swim about.
David has been blogging Jerry's journey to sanctuary, which you can follow here:
Having acquired over fifteen years of experience and thousands of live, safe, crocodilian captures, Vince Rose is an expert at safely handling various species and sizes of crocodilians, including the capture of the 12 foot Morelet's crocodile that unfortunately killed a local Belizean fisherman in 2014. Additionally, Vince has extensive knowledge in crocodilian diseases and proper husbandry; has hundreds of hours educating local Belizean government authorities on everything from safe handling techniques, scientific data collection, tagging, and sexing; and has educated the general public, including school children, on how to safely coexist with these magnificent apex predators. Working hand in hand with the BFD, ACES has rescued hundreds of American and Morelet’s crocodiles from inhumane and illegal captivity, polluted environmental conditions, poachers, and imminent death at the hands of man due to their problematic status. Cherie Chenot-Rose, Vince’s wife and Co-Founder of ACES states, “It’s not just saving crocodiles that is important to us; for even more important is the fact that what we do keeps people safe and potentially saves human lives by removing large problematic crocodiles from under homes and local swimming holes where the likelihood for croc-human conflicts is the highest.” ACES responds to crocodile calls country-wide in Belize and relocates nuisance crocs while placing problematic crocs, those that are more aggressive and have attacked pets or keep returning to a populated area, into captivity at ACES Crocodile Eco-Sanctuary now located at the Rainforest Adventure Zone in Sandhill, Belize. Here the crocodiles can reside in in peace in natural and yet secured habitats.
ACES’s is currently expanding their operations to Southwest Florida, USA. ACES aims to hold educational presentations to raise awareness on how to safely coexist with apex predators, like Crocodilians.“It is imperative that we learn to coexist because apex predators play very important roles in keeping our environments healthy and in balance." (David Owen, left, and Vince)