Georges, the Lamentin crocodile is a dangerous animal

The Lézarde crocodile is the subject of much curiosity. Photos are published regularly on social networks. Tracked by experts, the saurian has still not been captured. He poses a threat to anyone who crosses his path.



He’s a big bash, Georges. He doesn’t hang out much. It can sometimes be seen on the banks behind the Place d’Armes shopping centre. He takes in the sun and when he sees that we are watching him or filming him too closely, he dives into the water and disappears. But people are pretty happy to see it.

Employee of the town hall of Lamentin

This testimony of an employee of the town hall of Lamentin reflects the opinion that some people have of the presence in Martinique of the crocodile nicknamed George. The animal of about three meters was photographed for the first time by a helicopter from the gendarmerie. It was in 2016. Cages were then placed at the mouth of the Lézarde to capture it. Without success.

In the process, the authorities called on Olivier Behra, a crocodile specialist with the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN). The man spent his childhood in Cameroon. He intervened in Gabon, Congo and the Central African Republic to identify saurians, before combating the poaching of which these animals are victims in Madagascar.

Olivier Behra

Olivier Behra, crocodile specialist at the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN).



©Terredesarbres.com

In Martinique, where he landed in October 2016, Olivier Behra failed to trap the animal. The French “Crocodile Dundee”, however, spends several nights tracking him down. He wants to take advantage of those hours when a saurian’s eyes glow in the dark to catch him with a lasso or a net. But the operation suffers from the flooding of the rivers due to heavy rains which blur the tracks.

For five years, Georges is forgotten. Not a trace. Not a photo. Not the slightest alert from a passer-by or a jogger about his presence in a stream or on a bank. Hunters will claim to have finally shot him. But in 2021, the crocodile resurfaces with photos posted in October and November by Internet users on social networks. We have to resume the hunt.

The Lamentin mangrove

The mangrove at Lamentin (Martinique).



©NFB

Three other specialists from France and Austria arrive in Martinique in February 2022, as part of an operation carried out with large resources for fifteen days by the services of the Department of the Environment, Planning and Housing (DEAL), with the support of the Office National des Forêts (ONF), the Direction de la Mer, the French Office for Biodiversity and the town hall of Le Lamentin.

Patrols take turns day and night on the Mamin canal, which passes in front of the Place d’Armes shopping centre, on the Lézarde river and more generally in the mangroves: Gaigneron canal, Port Cohé… The teams use cameras which automatically trigger when an animal passes. A drone and boats are also mobilized. But the crocodile remains untraceable.

Search area

Research area between Lamentin and Fort-de-France.



©NFB

Eight months after these unsuccessful hunts, the experts have to face the facts: Georges has a favorable environmentwhich makes its capture unlikely. So one of two things. Either we give up the hunt, we let him live, hoping he won’t hurt anyone. Either it constitutes a danger, in which case it must be shot, if it approaches too close to dwellings.

In the meantime, the authorities are calling for vigilance:

It is a wild animal in the wild. It has a large recreation area. If he is still there, it is because he finds his food in his surroundings. But be careful, he is capable of biting and killing, if something disturbs him or scares him. You should therefore not approach it to take pictures but report your presence quickly.

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