A Oaxaca man lost an arm Wednesday after an encounter with yet another victim of tropical storm Beatriz: a two-meter-long crocodile found roaming some two kilometers away from its usual habitat.
Artemio Salinas was preparing to work on a parcel of land he owns in Santa María Chicometepec, in the municipality of Santa María Huazolotitlán, when the displaced reptile attacked him, biting off an arm.
Salinas was taken to a hospital in Pinotepa Nacional where he continues to recover from the complete amputation of his right arm, said doctors, adding that his condition is still delicate.
Despite Chicometepec not being an area normally inhabited by crocodiles, townspeople organized a croc-hunting brigade, which located the offending reptile. They tied it up and transported it to a remote, uninhabited area.
Heavy rainfall last week affected the crocodiles’ natural habitat, overflowing rivers and flooding vast areas, destroying natural boundaries and setting them on the move.
The reptiles — some reportedly up to six meters long — have been sighted on beaches and close to populated areas.
According to a report by the local Civil Protection office, the attack took place more than two kilometers away from an area crocodiles are known to inhabit.
The mayors of three other nearby municipalities— Jamiltepec, Tututepec and Pinotepa Nacional — have also reported an increase in croc sightings, as well as poisonous snakes.
The only report of a snake bite comes from the community of Chacahua, where a foreign tourist’s pet was bitten by a rattlesnake.
Citizens in the area have requested that the local Health Secretariat provide them with antivenom in order to be prepared to care such an emergency. Human snakebite victims often have to be transported by boat to a nearby hospital, losing precious time.
The local representatives of the Environment Secretariat and the environmental agency Profepa have announced a plan to find and relocate the reptiles from the areas where local authorities have reported seeing them.
The mayor of Pinotepa Nacional reported that in the last four years there have been 12 reports of crocodile attacks, including one in which a 10-year-old boy was killed.
Source: Milenio (sp)