Escaped crocodile dies in Ukraine government custody
After evading recapture for months
A Nile crocodile on the lam for months in the waters of the Sea of Azov has died in the custody of Ukrainian animal controllers, Korrespondent magazine reported on Tuesday, according to Earth Times.
Government workers "did everything they could," according to a statement from the Ministry of Emergency Situations (UMS).
The 1.5-metre-long reptile made a successful break for freedom in May from a travelling circus visiting the port city Mariupol, by digging his way out of a fenced enclosure and waddling to the sea.
The crocodile was sighted repeatedly by beach-goers in the following months, and became a minor media celebrity in the region. Initially fearsomely-named "Godzilla" by tabloid reporters, the animal`s popular name had changed to the affectionate "Godzi" by July.
Rather than attacking human swimmers, the crocodile found a plentiful diet of perch and sprat, according to news reports.
Throughout the summer the crocodile appeared to have taken to his new environment, sunning himself daily, and avoiding nets and even traps baited with live mice.
After evading recapture for months, the crocodile was roped and taken prisoner on November 28, near a water treatment outlet for the Marioupol Steel Factory.
Water temperatures had fallen to the teens and the cold-blooded crocodile was near-somnambulant when taken into custody, and did not resist capture, Korrespondent reported.
UMS Officials have made much of the crocodile`s recapture, in part to counter current public criticism of the Ministry`s competence for, among other recent incidents, a chemical spill in Lviv province, a deadly natural gas explosion in a Dnipopretrovsk apartment building, and a massive oil spill in the Sea of Azov.
Nestor Shufrich, director of the UMS, at a press conference told reporters the crocodile would receive the best of treatment. The reptile eventually was made the responsibility of the Donetsk branch of the UMS.
Emergency workers attempted to assist the crocodile by allowing it to wallow in a crew bathtub in warm water, and by offering it boiled eggs and canned meat to eat.
The crocodile reportedly refused food for five days, and then died of unknown causes.