Sunday, October 08, 2006

All posts were moved (11/2006) to


Two tidbits from along the Rio Grande... Fishermen capture 7.5-foot croc in Rio Grande Associated Press
NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico — Mexican fishermen captured a 7.5-foot-long crocodile in the Rio Grande, the river that divides Mexico and the United States, and turned the animal over to a local animal shelter, authorities reported today. The animal was caught on a fisherman's line on Saturday in a sparsely populated stretch of the river on the outskirts of Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo, Texas The crocodile weighed about 130 pounds and appeared to be in good condition, said Jose Moreno Araiza, a commander of the Nuevo Laredo fire department, where the fishermen first brought the animal in the back of a pickup truck. It was then turned over to the local Animal Protection Society, whose president, Gina Ferrara, said the croc would be kept for the time being in improvised holding area complete with a pool of water. Federal environmental officials were informed of the capture, and will eventually decide what is to be done with the animal. Crocodiles do not normally inhabit the Rio Grande, and authorities believe it may have been brought to the area as a pet and then released into the river by its owner. Undocumented migrants frequently swim or ride inner tubes across the Rio Grande to reach the United States. Nuevo Laredo Environmental Department biologist Irvin Donath Paredes said the croc appeared to be young and in good physical condition. "We'll have to see what species it is, but it's young, three or four years old, judging by the texture of its skin and the size of its head," said Donath Paredes.
CROCS? My neighbor is a misplaced crocodile specialist (he did his dissertation in Tabasco, Belize and Thailand), who moved here to teach biology at Sul Ross, after a stint at an Indian College in South Dakota. He's pumped! And, yeah, it was a croc, not an alligator, though I wouldn't want to get close enough to tell the difference. And... Jesse Bogan of the San Antonio Express-News managed to find two people who actually support the Great Wall of Texas.
In Laredo, Ray Segura, owner of Segura Fence Co., said he's eager to compete for government contracts to help build the fence. He already has teamed up with a San Antonio company to submit a bid. "There's going to be a lot of contracts, there's going to be a lot of bidding, there's going to be a lot of action," Segura said. He said that based on his experience, the fence probably would be built on an easement along the river that the government owns and runs along the entire border, usually 30 to 50 feet wide. He estimated it would take about two to three months per mile of construction for a thick wire fence with holes too small to fit a boot in; twice as long if it is a double fence, as Congress wants. Also standing to gain was a shirtless man with a tattoo of a bat on his chest. He was drinking beer last week with two colleagues along the river where smugglers commonly bring immigrants in rafts from the Mexican town of Miguel Alemán to the Texas town of Roma. The self-described "patero," or smuggler, sat among trash, just beyond the reach of flies buzzing around a dead animal. "We aren't politicians, we are ruffians. It's going to be more difficult (to cross), but it's going to cost more money," said the man, who appeared to be about 40 and declined to give his name. "If they want to spend the money on the wall," he said with the flick of a hand, "then spend it."


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