Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Because the rainy season has increased the water level in area crocodile habitats these animals may wander out into surrounding areas. Puerto Vallarta's Department of Environment and Ecology is keeping a vigilant eye on public areas and encouraging the public to report any crocodile sightings in unusual places to the agency so they can begin the process of capture and relocation.
"There is no cause for alarm, nor are we issuing a warning. We are just asking the public to immediately report any crocodile sighting as a preventive measure," said the head of the Environment and Ecology agency, Juan José Navarro.
He said that if you should see a crocodile in an urban area to give them due respect: do not throw objects that could hurt them, because crocodiles do not move at the will of observers, but only of their own volition; maintain a minimum distance of 10 meters; do not feed them because it causes them to relate humans with food; and do not hunt or attempt to capture them, because it is a federal crime.
Navarro went on to say that the city's Department of Environment and Ecology has an inspection and supervision team that is responsible for conducting patrols, which in this specific case is in areas inhabited by crocodiles and places where citizens have reported sightings, and posting signs to keep citizens informed.
"So far, despite the rains we've had over the last few days, there have been no crocodile sightings reported. During the patrols we've only seen the water levels rising so we are taking preventive measures because surely we will have more rain. This is why we are inviting citizens to keep us informed, which will help us preserve public safety," the city official said.
Navarro emphasized that it is very important to respect the signs posted in areas that crocodile inhabit, and if found outside of their natural habitat, it should be reported to the Civil Protection and Fire Department, the Directorate of Environment and Ecology, or by calling 178-8225, so the proper authorities can coordinate efforts for the animal's safe capture and relocation.Original article translated and edited by María Francesca for BanderasNews.com.