Roßleben (dpa) – A dead chicken on a string should lure it in front of the camera. Dozens of firefighters and police combed riverside areas for him. A helicopter was used in the search for him. Even riverside feces were analyzed.
But the whole effort was in vain: the crocodile, which according to witnesses is supposed to swim in the Unstrut, has so far remained submerged. A proven expert should now clarify whether the reptile might still soak up the sun on the banks of the waters that flow in Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt and snap for fish there.
Because there is a lack of evidence: Even after a dead lure chicken, the alleged crocodile had not caught. The authorities of the Kyffhäuserkreis had recently hung it up in the morning and in the evening on the Unstrut bank for several days in order to lure the reptile in front of a game camera. But the photo trap gave no results and the attempt was eventually abandoned. “There was no browsing on the chicken,” said District Office press spokesman Heinz-Ulrich Thiele, on Monday.
A witness recently reported that he saw the crocodile a week ago on Tuesday, Thiele said. Before that, a rider wanted to have discovered the animal on the weekend before last on the bank near Schönwerda – a district of the town of Roßleben-Wiehe. The suspected crocodile must have already covered a few kilometers of the river. Because anglers had already stated at the end of August that they had seen the reptile in southern Saxony-Anhalt.
However, during major searches there and in the north of Thuringia, the authorities did not find anything. Traces in the mud and an analysis of a pile of excrement from the Unstrut bank did not provide any information as to whether the crocodile alarm on the Unstrut was perhaps just a false alarm.
“If you are responsible, you have to take the advice seriously, it’s about the health of the residents,” says Thiele. When in doubt, people tend to do more for safety. This is one of the reasons why the river area has been cordoned off in the green and rural Kyffhäuser area. Swimming, fishing and walking are forbidden – an idyllic bike path also leads along there.
The district office is now placing its hopes on the requested expert. It is a nationally recognized specialist, so Thiele. It is hoped that he will be able to get an idea of the situation as soon as possible and judge whether a crocodile is on the way or not. Reptile specialists from the zoos in Leipzig and Erfurt recommended the experts, Thiele said.
Meanwhile, Oliver Wings, a researcher at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, had already explained that a crocodile could survive in the unstrut, at least in theory. As a cold-blooded animal, the reptile can adapt to temperatures of more than 20 degrees as well as those in the single-digit range.
Regardless of whether it even exists, the crocodile has at least already made it into the ranks of summer animals. This means that it is in good company with the wild boar that was chased by a naked man on a Berlin lake in August because the Bache allegedly popped his bag with a laptop. Most recently, a female elephant painting with her trunk made headlines in the Osnabrück Zoo. However, there is one decisive difference to the case of the Unstrut crocodile: There are photos of the elephant art and the laptop wild boar.