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Friday, August 1, 2014

Crocs and kariba

Nature certainly wont resolve the crocs issue. Born and bred in Kariba, we swam at the old G.D.I harbour, the public slipway opposite Kariba Ferries,  Carribbea Bay hotel front at the jetty. Gone are those days, you wouldn’t dare now to set foot on the water in those areas. Only this past week, a lady from Nyamhunga was taken while fishing, prior to that we watched a horrifying video of crocs shot to retrieve body parts of a guy taken at Kuburi Wilderness, other incidences have gone untold like of the young boy who was taken while bathing with daddy just by Irvine Johnson or Pama Meats. Stories like this are happening  weekly. I suggest culling as a control measure or parks could trap them and take them to their C.W.E farm, they have ponds there to keep them in. Eddie Mudzimu 


In view of all the ongoing discussions regarding the “Kariba Crocs” we have started an Open Forum on Facebook,  Kind Regards Jenny Adams


Crocodiles HAVE become more forward than ever before. Is it due to the amount that Parks released in the past from the croc farms and the fact that they know there are scraps and fish entrails to be had off houseboats these days… ?  After the recent attack in the Gache Gache River, I asked the Warden Kariba to respond to some of the queries I had had about the so called ‘over population’ of crocs in the lake now. He responded and said that he has referred my request for comment to head office as he is not allowed to comment directly. I am still waiting… I will follow up. There have though,  been reports made to us at the lodge by people who say crocs are now bumping boats, grabbing keep nets full of fish that are hanging in the water off the side of the boat, grabbing fish off hooks by fishermen who are reeling in and so on. ALL TRUE.  Several people say they have been in a light aircraft over kariba and seen crocs near houseboats - in some instances when people are jumping off the boat under the impression that crocs don’t hang around in the middle of the lake.  I believe this to now be a MYTH. Don’t take that chance. BUT IT HAS TO BE SAID THAT PEOPLE ARE JUST PLAIN DUMB AND DO NOT RESPECT WILD ANIMALS SOMETIMES!!! As said before, sitting in deck chairs or waling in knee deep water at night is ASKING FOR TROUBLE!  PLEASE Respect wild animals, even those you cannot see - they may be lurking nearby. And know that at night the danger increases… Perhaps the Gache has more crocodiles now DUE TO OUR FISH ANTI-POACHING project, there are now SO MANY FISH including VUNDU that have not been prevalent up to now… IF YOU ARE CAREFUL & SHOW RESPECT YOU WILL BE FINE. IF YOU DONT THEN DONT BLAME THE CROCS… food for thought no?!! AND YOU CAN HAVE AN AMAZING FISHING EXPERIENCE TOO!!  (P.S. I would give those low bass boats a complete miss!)   Pat Townsend.


 I have been resident of Kariba for nearly 30 years and don't think that the croc population has increased. We know we live on a dangerous lake, and National Park, and should take all the precautions necessary to avoid contact with these animals. Most of us in Kariba try and look after all the wild animals we are privileged to co habit with, many of them are dangerous, elephant, buffalo and lions etc   Apart from National Parks,the only people who would know, and who would have accurate figures for croc populations is the management of Padenga, the Kariba croc farm, as they are involved in egg collection and most likely, with GPS assistance, are accurately able to map out the demographics.  Whilst I have sympathy for those who have friends and family who have been killed by wild animals, we must learn, and teach, people to stop giving these animals the opportunities.   Maybe we could ask the management of Padenga to comment. Regards, Dick.


Crocs are a part of Kariba and our wildlife and ECOSYSTEM. It IS a GAME area and they are an integral part of the Lake and its system. Sadly there are far too many now due to the Nat Parks program of releasing a percentage of the hatchlings from the Croc Farm back into the Lake. (Something should be done about this….??). It is up to the public and holiday makers therefore to be VERY aware of this fact, and NOT to take chances or be COMPLACENT! Always check your surroundings before going near the water’s edge, or fishing, or venturing forth into it, if it HAS to be done? STUDY the shoreline and water.. tracks, slide marks, the inevitable snout and eyes sticking just above the surface ….watching, waiting… lurking….?


And in the 12 years of running a Houseboat on the Lake from Chawara, (Manager, Skipper, Host, Crewman, Guide and general dogs body).  I never ONCE saw a croc following OUR Houseboat, or a Houseboat, out into the lake ( FROM the houseboat, OR from the air… and especially out in the middle of the lake) for a few scraps of food that might be thrown out? It does NOT make sense. A house boat moves at some pace, and it is totally impossible for a Croc to follow for hours on end in the hope of a few scraps of food? And crocs do not live in the middle of the lake. Transit maybe, yes, but it is not the sort of environment they survive in.

They live in close proximity to the shoreline where they are TERRITORIAL and get their main food requirements of fish and shore living creatures… both animal and HUMAN…! ( Very sorry for Mac Baily and ALL the other victims and families).


Hanging around moored houseboats/yachts,/fishing boat,  on the shoreline yes…. ! Here opportunities do exist for those ‘ possible and continual scraps’… especially from the remains of gutted fish which the crew  chuck over the side after cleaning a catch! And therefore ATTRACT the crocs….! So beware crew and holiday makers on board, because this IS where crocs will take advantage and attack when opportunity presents. Which I know did happen to a few unfortunate crew members when I was on the Lake. Elephant Point being one spot where a crew member was taken from the  Bermuda Board while attending to the Tender boats as the houseboat was departing from it’s mooring spot. And yes, I agree that Crocs in and around public areas… Harbour’s, Marina’s or shoreline situated Hotels, should be shot/culled… on an ongoing basis. (Have to try persuade Nat Parks on this issue….??). On the Lake and around the Islands and shorelines and away from human habitation … they are in THEIR environment, where if a human target is presented………?????


Sad, but that is life….. RESPECT WILDLIFE and the ENVIRONMENT and be aware and not COMPLACENT (especially now that there are SO many) and it most likely won’t happen!!!  I personally have had my own very scary and close shave with death from a croc attack…many years ago on the Umzingwani river in the Beitbride area? But ONLY due to my/our own (my buddie and I) STUPIDITY and complacency….!! Last but not least… if you go  to Mana where ALL wildlife abounds in large numbers… it is a risk you personally take if you want to go camp, walk, fish, and enjoy our beautiful wildlife and environment… NO excuses if you become a part of the Ecosystem….!! Same on Kariba….! Geoff. (Ex Kariba 20 years and ongoing Wildlife and Conservation enthusiast… ).


I would also like to add my 10cents. Crocs have lost their fear of man. Of this there is no doubt. 20 years ago you could see them at Kariba and the Zambezi, but the minute they saw you they disappeared, only to be seen again at night with a spot light. If you were lucky enough to see a croc swimming during daylight hours it quickly submerged and would not be seen again. Sadly that is not the case today. 

Nowadays crocs actively seek out boats and surface within metres of you and often come closer. They are not there by chance, they are looking for any opportunity that may present itself. I have had fish taken off my lines, keep nets removed and even the occasional "bump" underneath the boat. This is totally abnormal behaviour from these beasts. My solution, to this ever increasing problem, is that Crocs should be sold on licence and shot. Some of your readers say this will not solve the problem, but I am convinced that within a few months of "open season" on crocs their behaviour would very quickly return to normal. ie when spotted during the day it would disappear. I am not saying that we should all go out there and shoot crocs ad lib, I am saying, though, that if a croc approaches a boat or a human it should be eliminated. Soon this problem would be over. It would also generate much needed revenue for our Parks and Wildlife. 

I have been so fortunate to have been brought up in this amazing country and to have enjoyed the outdoors, Kariba and the mighty Zambezi for over 30 years, but sadly I fear for what dangers lurk beneath and am hesitant in letting my children enjoy the great outdoors as we did as children. Jase


At long last this croc problem has been brought into the 'light'. As you can see, this is such a serious problem to all who love Kariba. Our family has enjoyed Kariba for the past 30 years or so, and are now fearful of every action taken on our boat/houseboat, it has definitely taken the relaxing moments out of every trip. The crocs in Kariba are so out of control, its frightening, and its just a matter of time before someone else is taken off the splashplank of a houseboat at Antelope Island, which is also worse than ever for crocs.      " FISHERWOMAN LOVER"


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