Jordanian army warns Israeli soldiers to be on lookout for dangerous reptile in river
The Jordanian Army told their Israeli counterparts the large reptile had been spotted swimming in the Yarmouk River, which marks part of the border between the two countries, Israeli media reported.
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) confirmed to Channel 12 News it had been informed by the Israeli armed forces there could be a crocodile on the loose close to two small Israeli settlements close to the river.
As well as working with the army to try and verify the reports, the INPA also said it was trying to get in contact with a crocodile farm which runs as a tourist attraction at the nearby hot springs of Hamat Gader.
“The authority is working with the army to get permission to cross the [border] fence in order to carry out searches in the area,” the INPA said in a statement.
Because the sighting of the semiaquatic creature was behind the fence which runs along the border at this point, there is not thought to be any threat to Israeli citizens at this point, officials also said.
There are no wild crocodiles in Israel, with the last killed by hunters over a century ago, but a number of places have captive crocodile populations kept as tourist attractions.
One such crocodile farm hit the headlines in 2018 when it emerged the facility, based in an Israeli settlement in an isolated part of the Jordan Valley in Palestine’s West Bank, had gone bust, leaving its owner with about 700 of the dangerous animals who would periodically escape their confines.
Although tensions sporadically rise between Jordan and Israel, especially over access rights to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the two countries have generally had positive and co-operative relations since a 1994 treaty formally ended the war begun by the foundation of Israel in 1948.