NORTHEAST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A crocodile nuisance has put a South Florida community on edge, and residents are hoping the animals can be relocated elsewhere.
As many as five crocodiles have been found relaxing on lawns and hanging out near pools. Those who live in the Northeast Miami-Dade neighborhood said the massive reptiles are coming too close to their homes, and it’s become a real concern.
Several residents at the Enchanted Lake Community have reported the crocodile sightings.
“Up until eight months ago, people started saying that they were seeing crocs,” said resident Enrique Baiz. “Somebody took pictures of them. There’s one that’s huge, that’s like 10 or 12 [feet] and others that are like 6 feet or 8 feet.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission crocodiles have rebounded from being an endangered species in the ’70s to a “recovering threatened species” today. They are believed to number about 2,000 in Florida now and some have moved into many South Florida neighborhoods.
The FWC has received multiple calls of concern, particularly in the area of Northeast 192nd Street and 22nd Avenue.
“I think you get used to it,” said resident Tammy Waich. “You have to take all the measures to be safe. If you see it somewhere that can be caught, call as soon as you see it.”
Her son, Adam Waich, said he’s not allowed to get too close to the water.
“My mom doesn’t let us get on the bottom dock of our house,” he said. “She gets scared because she doesn’t want it to be there by surprise.”
Although residents want the animals to be caught, the FWC said because the American crocodiles that are in the area are protected, they cannot be trapped.
“I’ve called the authorities, and they said we have to learn to live with them,” Baiz said. “That’s not really a good answer because there’s so many people living here.”
The FWC released a statement that read in part, “We take public safety very seriously and administer a program designed to be proactive and responsive … calls to our hotline to report crocodile sightings in the Enchanted Lake Community have prompted efforts to trap and relocate. Sightings of crocodiles there have not occurred recently.”
Wildlife officials also said the American crocodile is typically shy and reclusive. They warn residents to use caution and to keep a fair amount of distance away from the crocodile.
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