March 13 2014 Latest news:
By Jon Dean
Monday, February 27, 2012
A crocodile hunter has spoken about his mission to Africa to catch a killer beast.
As reported by the Gazette last month, Highbury wildlife expert Peter Prodromou flew out to Uganda to snare a reptile that ate a child on Christmas Day.
But while he managed to capture one crocodile, another is still loose in the area and he now wants to work with locals to reduce attacks, safeguarding both villagers and animals.
He also plans to visit an Islington primary school to teach children what it is like for their peers in Africa learning to live alongside the killer creatures.
Mr Prodromou said: “We knew it was going to be tough because the croc wasn’t in a little pond, it was in Lake Edward, which is massive.
“We spent some time looking at the crocodiles on the banks of the lake, but they were all too small to have killed the boy. Then one morning we saw a huge croc that could have been a man-eater.
“Earlier in the trip we had found a dead hippo, so we used that as bait and set a snare in the river. When we went back, the croc was caught.
“I was working with Peter Ogwang – Uganda’s only expert trapper – and we gently dragged it back to shore with the boat.
“Crocodiles don’t respond to being tranquillised very well, so it was very much awake when we approached it.
“We got some rope round the jaws and it did a death roll [a technique in which crocodiles spin to tear up large chunks of meat from its prey] and wrapped itself up, meaning it couldn’t bite us.
“It’s actually easier than people think to catch a crocodile, and not all that dangerous.
‘‘I am far more concerned when moving around elephants and hippos and so on.
“After that my main concern was the safety of the animal. It had a cut on its back that needed treating, then we released it in a national park 250km away.”
Mr Prodromou has warned villagers another potential man-eater is at large and wants to work with the Ugandan authorities to keep humans and crocodiles apart.
“We need to sit with the village chiefs and work out the best way to stop attacks. It’s not realistic to keep moving crocodiles like this,” he added.
n See a video of Mr Prodromou’s dramatic crocodile hunt at www.islingtongazette.co.uk