Three years ago a call in the morning caught me and ACES by surprise. We were on Ambergris Caye in Belize trying to catch a problematic croc (problematic because people built their homes around the lagoon the croc called home) and relocate it before locals decided to put a bullet in its head. We set up a trap that was very much like one Steve Irwin created to catch big Salties in Northern Australia. I remember him saying it usually took 3 days to finally catch a croc in the net. Well, this was the 4th morning so we didn’t think we were going to have any luck. But we were wrong. The Ambergris police told us to come ASAP as a crowd was already starting to build. All the gear was in the golfcart (people drive golfcarts on the island) so we just jumped in and started heading off. Long story short, I caught a croc in my pajamas.
Now I’m on Ambergris once again trying to catch crocs, but this time it is more research oriented. I have an undergrad with me and this is her first wild croc, research experience. We kept trying to get crocs, but ropes broke, lassos didn’t go round, etc. We set up that net trap again with the help of ACES. Well, 3rd day came and still no luck. The undergrad and I woke up the next morning hoping to get a call around 8:30am that a croc was in the trap as that was when the ACES team was going to go check on it. 9:30am rolled around and nothing. I was in my bathing suit hanging out at the hostel we were staying at, then decided to go get a quick breakfast. We came back around 10am, and walked in the office to see if ACES called. One guy said “No, Vince didn’t call.” But someone else said, “But Chris did- I think there is a croc in the trap!” Flashbacks to that one morning years ago catching “Debbie” the croc. But I decided to run upstairs and throw proper clothes on as I was not going to catch a croc in my bathing suit.
So- success! Helen got to handle her first wild crocodile- an 8ft male American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus). Everything went VERY smoothly- Vince and Chris from ACES are great to work with, and nothing could have been done without them.