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New Haven’s Crocodile Dundee - Fisherman captures reptile in St Andrew community

Residents of New Haven in St Andrew are hailing one of their own, Anthony Bailey, for his action in the capture of a crocodile, which had them fearing for their safety.

Bailey, who is being dubbed Crocodile Dundee, said other residents saw a crocodile lurking under a bridge in the community and alerted him.

"Mi hear di people dem a make excitement and a gwane, but mi guh up deh and look at him and mi know mi coulda really catch him," Bailey told THE WEEKEND STAR.

"At first, mi say mi naah guh catch him because him nah trouble mi or anything, but then mi seh mi a guh catch him for the safety of the children and the community," Bailey added.

Crocodiles are one of Jamaica's many endangered animal species and are protected under the law. It is an offence under the Wild Life Protection Act to possess, hunt, kill capture, or wilfully molest the crocodile. Bailey said he has come face-to-face with crocodiles on many occasions but Thursday was the first time he decided to catch one.

"Mi do spear fishing suh sometimes mi wi a dive and see dem, and sometimes when mi set the net for the fish, dem get tangle up in deh. But mi usually let dem out, suh is not like mi fraid a dem or a guh run when mi see dem," he said.

His massive catch, which attracted scores of onlookers and even caused a traffic pile-up in the Six Miles area of St Andrew on Thursday, was handed over to the National Environmental and Planning Agency (NEPA), which sent representatives to New Haven to collect the reptile.

Bailey said that in order to catch the croc he had to slip a length of rope over the head of the croc and then exercise skill and patience to pull it from the water.

"Mi know him can't burst dah rope deh, nuh matter how him strong. Mi slowly put it over him head because mi encounter dem more than one time, suh mi put it over him head and draw it into a lock. Then mi bredda help mi put a next rope over him tail, suh we get him head and tail. We bind the mouth and bind the foot dem because him will run or walk off, and we just pull him out," Bailey said.

"It took mi about an hour to get him under control. Him strong and him try to escape because him roll, pull and snap, suh mi have to give him length because him will snap out mi hand when him do him drag. But mi know how to deal with them man," he said.

NEPA is encouraging the public to report crocodile sightings by calling the agency at 876-754-7540 or toll-free at 888-991-5005. The public is being reminded not to provoke crocodiles as they may become defensive if cornered or attacked.