Two days after University of Miami Police found a headless and tailless, 8- to 9-foot American crocodile carcass in a campus canal, a $5,000 reward is being offered by CompUSA for information that leads to the arrest of the crocodile killer.
University Police and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are working together to catch the perpetrator(s).
American crocodiles are listed as an endangered species in Florida and a threatened species under federal laws.
Intentionally killing a crocodile is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.
“We found a chum bag in the canal, which we believe was used to lure the crocodile in,” FWC investigator Lt. Pat Reynolds said.
Several crocodiles are on the campus, and the University of Miami, in partnership with the FWC, educates students about the animals.
Students and faculty are proud and protective of the campus crocodiles.
“The students and staff are worked up about the death of this crocodile,” Reynolds said. “The crocs are a part of their life at the university; they like having them around.”
Gilbert Fiorentino, CEO of CompUSA added, “The students are good customers of ours, and we want them to know our concern over this incident.”
CompUSA is a retailer and reseller of consumer electronics, technology products and computer services.
Campus police and the FWC spent hours gathering evidence and information following the discovery. The carcass was examined to try to determine how the animal was captured and killed. Findings have not been released.
“We are working diligently with the FWC, and we are determined to catch whoever is responsible for this,” said University Police spokesperson John Pepper.
American crocodiles live in South Florida and occur nowhere else in the United States. In 1975, there were fewer than 300 crocodiles in Florida, and they were listed as an endangered species.
Today, the FWC estimates 1,400 to 2,000 crocodiles live in southern Florida. They are typically shy and reclusive.