Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 28th 2018 Contents DEREK ACHONG
Herpetologists from the University of
the West Indies (UWI) have been called
in to track a 12-foot anaconda sighted at
the Aripo Livestock Station in Aripo on
Monday after it was disturbed while try-
ing to swallow a seven-foot caiman.
The snake was spotted by a staff
member at the Ministry of Agriculture
facility as it was about to ingest caiman
which it had constricted moments ear-
In a telephone interview yesterday,
animal health assistant Neshal Ramper-
sad likened to a scene as a National Geo-
graphic documentary or a movie.
“There were doing some pasture
maintenance and one (of the workers)
went by the pond to urinate. That was
when he saw it right in front of him,”
Rampersad said that one of the work-
ers prodded the snake and the reptile
released its intended meal and disap-
peared under the brackish water. The
recorded the event on cellphones. The
workers later pulled the caiman’s car-
cass from the small pond.
Rampersad said that he and col-
leagues were shocked by the sighting
as it was the largest snake they had ever
seen and it was the first time they had
seen an anaconda in the wild.
“We have dealt with snakes before
but this is the first time we encountered
an anaconda. Caiman does be around
the station but that does not be a prob-
lem,” Rampersad said.
Asked whether he and coworkers
were afraid to return to the pond after
the sighting, Rampersad said no.
“The thing is the snake has been there
a while because it is 12-foot long. It never
bothered anybody before so those guys
are just being a little more cautious in
the pastures,” Rampersad said.
He also said that the station’s livestock
was not in danger from the snake as
they are kept in indoor pens when not
grazing in the pastures and had never
been attacked before.
The sighting comes almost six years
after a 17-foot and 220-pound specimen,
one of the largest found in the southern
hemisphere within the last 30 years,
was found in Caroni.
President of the T&T Zoological Soci-
ety Gupte Lutchmedial said yesterday
that battles between two of the coun-
try’s largest amphibious predators were
“Small caimans are a normal part of
an anaconda’s diet, the anaconda will
apply constriction to kill the caiman,
however, it will take a very large ana-
conda to swallow this size of caiman.
Caimans will eat snakes if the opportu-
nity presents itself,” Lutchmedial said.
Contacted yesterday, Kristopher Rat-
tansingh, of Wildlife and Environmental
Protection of T&T, said that anacondas
were often killed by people due to their
formidable size and unfortunate repu-
If seen, members of the public should
avoid contact and call in experts, to re-
move the non-venomous reptile.
Members of the public who wish to
contact Wildlife and Environmental
Protection of T&T for the removal of
wildlife from populated areas can reach
them at 341-9983, 748-7100, 497-3373 or
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Over 50 passengers rescued at sea
Coast Guard officers and crew from
two other vessels responded last
night to a mayday call from a water
taxi transporting 63 passengers and
customer service representatives to
Tobago after the vessel stalled off the
coast of Blanchisseuse shortly after 6
Photos of panicked passengers,
wearing life jackets, and a video of a
crew member calling for calm, soon
began circulating on social media.
The passengers were onboard the
Trini Flash which left Scarborough
on its journey to Port-of-Spain yes-
The Port’s use of the water taxis on
the seabridge commenced yesterday
and the Trini Flash was on its second
journey for the day when there was
a report of a fire on board. Nidco
in a statement last night said that
there was a fire in the ceiling of the
engine room which was contained.
The vessel is usually used to trans-
port passengers from San Fernando
to Port-of-Spain on the calm Gulf of
The water taxis were put into use
to supplement travel for passengers
during the Easter period after the
two ferry passengers vessels, the T&T
Express and the T&T Spirit remain
down for repairs.
The vessel made a voyage to To-
bago without any problems, how-
ever, on its return to Port-of-Spain,
thick black smoke was seen coming
from the exhaust system before the
vessel stalled just off the North Coast.
A distress call was sent out to the
T&T Coast Guard shortly after 6 pm,
who responded along with the Cabo
Star and another unknown vessel.
The passengers and customer ser-
vice representatives were eventually
transferred to the Cabo Star.
Shortly after 8 pm, Works and
Transport Minister, Rohan Sinanan
confirmed to the T&T Guardian that
the vessel sailed to Staubles Bay
Asked if there was a fire aboard
the vessel or whether it was taking
in water as reported, Sinanan said:
“I was told that the taking in water
was not true but not until the vessel
is brought back here and an assess-
ment is done then I would have fur-
ther details. I cannot confirm the fire
In a video on social media a pas-
senger was heard saying: “We putting
on lifejacket on the water taxi. It shut
down at sea.”
Another video showed passengers
being assisted onto the Cabo Star.
“This is what we have to put up
with on a daily basis...the boat leave
late, late...look at drama these peo-
ple going through. The torment, the
fright out in this big ocean,” one pas-
A passenger, who spoke with CNC3
under the condition of anonymity,
said that an hour into the sailing,
passengers began observing smoke
coming from the water-taxi and the
vessel came to a stop.
The passenger said an announce-
ment was made and asked all passen-
gers to remain seated.
Passengers were assured they
would be kept informed of all devel-
However, the passenger said that
after 30 minutes at sea, no help had
CNC3 spoke with Marketing and
Public Relations Manager at the T&T
Inter-Island Transportation Com-
pany Vilma Lewis-Cockburn who
confirmed the water-taxi vessel was
experiencing some issues and sug-
gested that Nidco be contacted for
Chairman of the Port Authority
Lyle Alexander, during an interview
with CNC3 news, last night said that
the PATT is faced with challenges,
however, he assured that they are
doing everything to “fix them.”
“The Port Authority definitely
has its challenges. We have to work
our way through them. We have to
understand what exactly they are
and do everything that we can to fix
them. To put right these problems
that we have identified.”
Only this week, the Port Authority
announced that the water taxi would
accommodate inter-island passenger
over the Easter period until Tuesday.
Trini Flash, which was used to
operate the San Fernando to Port-of-
Spain service, was chosen to service
the inter-island service because both
the T&T Express and the T&T Spirit
are currently on dry-dock for repairs
On February 11, 2017, the T&T
Guardian reported that the Trini
Flash was faulty and had to be re-
placed. It was disclosed that the
vessel was back then experiencing
prolonged sailing times.
There had been numerous com-
plaints from passengers travelling
aboard the Trini Flash, which was
at the time said to be operating with
several mechanical problems.
As a result, the time spent trav-
elling between San Fernando and
Port-of-Spain had increased from 45
minutes to 90 minutes.
Tobago Forwards leader Christlyn
Moore, commenting on the situation,
said in a social media post that she
predicted that “these vessels would
put lives in peril.”
“The unfolding situation where the
water taxi has shut down mid-ocean
and is taking in water with souls on
board is too frightening to contem-
plate. I’m praying that everyone is
physically all right and will have more
to say after being assured everyone is
safe,” she stated.
Hunt for 12-foot anaconda in Aripo
PLAY WHE: 10.30am: 1(Centipede)•1pm:34(BlindMan)•4pm: 7(Hog)•6.30pm: 34(BlindMan)•PICK2: 10.30am: 14,17 • 1pm: 26,34•4pm: 26,18•6.30pm: 28,32•PICK4: 10.30am: 8,0,5,7 • 1pm: 0,2,4,3 •4pm: 6,0,5,6 •6.30pm: 6,9,1,2 •CASHPOT: 6,9,11,14,18 M:4
The 12-foot Anaconda which killed a
7-foot caiman (left) near the Aripo
livestock Station in Aripo on
The green anaconda is pound for
pound the largest snake in the world.
Native to South America and T&T an-
aconda’s can grow up to 29-feet long
and weigh as much as 550 pounds. The
largest verified sighting was a 20-foot
specimen in Guyana in 1937.
The snake, of the boa constrictor
family, are typically found in water and
marshy areas and suffocate their prey
to death before swallowing whole,
As juveniles anacondas help control
populations of rat and mice. As they
become larger they feed on larger ro-
dents such as agouti, lappe, capybara,
peccaries (quenk or wild hog) and
aquatic species such as caimans.
Anacondas are among 30 per cent
of snakes around the world that repro-
duce by live birth as opposed to laying
Females take 8 to 12 weeks to pro-
duce as many as 80 eggs which hatch
internally before giving birth.
A story published in Tuesday’s
edition entitled —Harvey: Broken
crucifix reflects state of T&T— er-
roneously attributed statements
to Bishop Clyde Harvey. The state-
ments were, in fact, made by jour-
nalist Sharmain Baboolal, who had
tagged Harvey on her Facebook
post. Our apologies to both Fr Har-
vey and Ms Baboolal.
Get it right
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