A councilor in Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas, has proposed the elimination of a federal norm that protects crocodiles so that the reptiles can be culled and commercialized.
Mauro Reyes, who is also president of the municipal Ecology and Environment Commission, advocated the controlled hunting of Morelet’s crocodiles to reduce the large population of the species in the southern region of the state. The councilor believes that the commercialization of crocodile skin and meat could boost the local economy.
Reyes’ proposal to cull the species comes after a man was killed last week by a crocodile in Tampico, which neighbors Ciudad Madero in southern Tamaulipas.
The councilor said that crocodiles pose a risk to Ciudad Madero families, especially in the rainy season when flooding can take the semiaquatic reptiles away from their normal habitat. He acknowledged that modification of the Environment Ministry (Semarnat) norm has to occur at the federal level but suggested that the Tamaulipas Congress could contribute to the process.
“It’s a situation that must be analyzed due to the risk crocodiles pose in the southern area of Tamaulipas,” Reyes said. “We could create a public policy so that crocodile meat and skin is commercialized.”
Reyes said that the Semarnat norm was conceived because crocodiles were considered to be endangered. However, that’s not the case in southern Tamaulipas, he said, asserting that crocs in the area are reproducing rapidly. The councilor also said that municipal governments have a responsibility to do what they can to prevent crocodile attacks.
The newspaper Milenio reported that crocodile attacks have increased in the region in recent years and that at least four people have been killed. Last week’s attack occurred in Laguna del Carpintero, a Tampico lake just north of the border with Veracruz.
Tampico Mayor Jesús Nader Nastallah said Monday that local authorities want to relocate crocs that call the lake home, but the plan hasn’t gone ahead due to opposition from federal environmental authorities.
For his part, Ciudad Madero Mayor Adrián Oseguera said that his government also wants to relocate crocodiles in that municipality to a single plot of land that would be fenced off to stop the reptiles from coming into contact with the public.