Photo enhanced for clarity by CelebrateGreece.com
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Every effort is being made to capture alive a crocodile that has been spotted in a reservoir on Crete, where an expert in amphibians is expected on Thursday to assist in the operation.
The reptile was spotted last week by firefighters in the Amari dam reservoir, also known as the Fragma ton Potamon, south of the seaside resort of Rethmyno.
Footage recorded with help of a drone shows the crocodile, which is estimated to be two meters long, swimming in the artificial lake. Last week, a photograph showed the creature in the wetlands that have sprung up around the body of water.
Rethymno’s mayor Yiorgos Marinakis said that a specialist herpetologist was due to arrive on Thursday, when a major operation will take place to capture the animal and return it to its natural environment.
In the meantime, Marinakis added, the area has been fenced off and various traps will be set on Thursday so that the crocodile might be captured alive. "Crocodiles cannot survive and reproduce on Crete. A tropical-looking view is one thing and tropical conditions are quite another," he said, He believed the crocodile had most likely been abandoned there by a private owner after he or she became tired of it.
He dismissed the concerns of those who fear that the reptile might give rise to a "crocodile colony" in Crete’s rivers.
The Amari dam reservoir, in which the creature has made home was created by the building of a hydroelectric dam that is destined to supply the entire area with electricity. An ecosystem has grown around the artificial lake, which is roughly 12km in circumference, consisting of lush vegetation, closer to tropical rainforest areas than that normal to Crete, the mayor said.
He absolutely ruled out all possibility of allowing the crocodile to remain the lake as a tourist attraction, saying that Rethymno had absolutely "no ambition to have crocodile reproduction in its ecosystem".
Residents are blaming the crocodile for missing lambs, goat kids and ducks, and souvenir shops are now selling inflatable crocodiles. The sale of crocodiles was banned in pet shops in the European Union a number of years ago. Other experts believe the creature may have been released into the wild at that time, possibly by a petshop owner.