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    Malawi Booming with Crocodiles

Thursday, January 06, 2000

Malawi Booming With Crocodiles

Blantyre, Malawi (PANA) (Panafrican News Agency, January 6, 2000) - Crocodiles are killing at least two people everyday in rural Malawi's southern Shire River valley, according to a survey carried out by a hunter, Khaled Hassen.

He said that it was high time the government seriously considered culling the growing number of crocodiles in the area to stop the killings. He added that the reported attacks could be a tip of the problem, there might be more incidents that went unreported.

"People in the area no longer report every death to police or the district commissioner because these attacks are happening everyday," he told PANA.

Hassen said ever since Malawi signed the CITES treaty, crocodile population has been booming at an uncontrollable rate. Before Malawi joined CITES it used to kill about 800 crocodiles annually but the treaty only allows the culling of only 200 crocodiles per year.

"The population of crocodiles is increasing extensively and the quota we have is just too little. Since the crocodiles keep multiplying and are hungry, they resort to killing livestock and human beings," Hassen said.

He noted that the current number of crocodiles in Malawi can be controlled if at least 500 crocodiles were killed annually. He said, for instance, when the crocodile menace grew out of hand during one week in December, he killed 100 crocodiles at the request of the Department of Parks and Wildlife and other people in the area.

Hassen has been in the crocodile business since 1963 and has recorded killing at least 17,000 crocodiles since then. He said he mainly exports crocodiles skins to fashion houses in France.

The issue of crocodiles in the valley is so serious that parliament has been involved.

Wildlife Minister George Ntafu told the house that his ministry suspected witchcraft was involved in the growing number of people killed by crocodiles in the area.

Copyright © 1900 Panafrican News Agency. Distributed via Africa News

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