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Crocodile park returns

Following a rejection of a crocodile park by the Psematismos and Athienou communities TSA Crocopark Ltd has approached the Achna district to discuss the possibility of a theme park.

Nile crocodileA CROCODILE park rejected by the Psematismos and Athienou communities may yet find a home in Cyprus as Israeli company TSA Crocopark has now approached the Achna district to discuss opening the theme park in the area.

It is far from sure that the community council will vote in favour of the plan, and community leader Nicos Vassilas said on Thursday there is some way to go.

“We will need to engage lawyers and do a study,” he said. “Nothing has been decided yet.”

Vassilas declined to disclose the details of the project, but said he has talked about it with the community leaders of Athienou and Psematismos.

“They didn’t give any serious reasons why we should reject it,” he told the Cyprus Mail, adding that a problem in Psematismos was that the park was going to very close to the village.

Opponents of the plan in Cyprus fear there will be a health problem, as there could be an outbreak of the Nile virus, which can be deadly for people. They are also afraid that once the park is established, there are no guarantees that it will not be used for breeding purposes, meaning numbers might spiral within a short period of time. In addition, the crocodiles require vast amounts of water.

After it was reported that a number of reptiles escaped in Israel in 2011, residents are concerned the same might happen in Cyprus, raising fears that the animals could roam around the island, endangering not only human beings but the whole ecosystem.

To find out more, Vassilas visited French crocodile park ‘La Ferme aux Crocodiles’ in Montelimar, France. There were four to five schools visiting at the time, with children aged six to 10, and he said it was good to see their interest.

The French park also attracts a lot of tourists, Vassilas added.

The park reportedly attracts 300,000 visitors annually and is often hailed as one of France’s major tourist attractions. With ten species of crocodiles, giant tortoises weighing between 80 and 150 kilogrammes, lizards, snakes, tropical fish and birds, the farm has over 400 animals living on its premises.

Because it holds over 600 exotic plant species, it is also a relevant horticultural and botanical garden which makes it the largest tropical conservatory that can be visited in France.

The farm also has a laboratory and hatchery for scientific research and animal conservation.

Readers' comments

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  • MartynG says:

    It seems this crazy idea won’t go away.

    Psematismenos eventually decided the Risk factors were too high: close to sizeable human populations, close to the Highway, crocodiles not indigenous, dangerous to encourage people, families, kids to get ‘close up’ to the ‘exhibits’. Strong undertones that crocodile breeding would quickly become the primary objective, thus increasing Risks : physical risks obviously, we know these creatures are not only ugly but also Nasty, health concerns, viruses, including Nile borne and other diseases. And this is ‘lil ol ‘ Cyprus not France.

    There are plenty of other attractions Cyprus has to offer! A Risk Analysis will show this – Crocodiles – adjacent to humans – to be dangerous: This seems to be badly-thought through, with potential crocs on the loose creating health and personal injury problems..

    Ed: Nine times out of ten in Cyprus money trumps risks, threats and common sense!

  • Deanna says:

    Mad idea. These animals need very careful oversight – not to mention the water problem in the summer-months.

  • Concerned says:

    Good grief. Will we see them next taking up residence on the top floor of the new high rises in Limassol.

    How far is Cyprus prepared to go to generate money to run the country from anywhere except their own people and businesses?.

    It’s about time (actually long past) that Cyprus became sustainable and not forever looking for the holy external Euro – or Rouble. – or Yen – or anything except putting their house in order

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