Andrea Donaldson, a manager at Jamaica's National Environment & Planning Agency, said attempts to catch poachers in sting operations haven't yet worked out.
"It's been extremely difficult. We typically go and investigate areas where are reports that they're eating crocodile and we remind them that it is illegal," said Donaldson, adding that authorities are confident that none of the meat is being exported out of the country.
A recent operation had unprecedented success when suspicious meat was seized at a Kingston restaurant, but authorities are still trying to determine whether it's crocodile or imported alligator. Animal advocates are hopeful that a prosecution in this case will set an example to people who deal in the illegal wildlife trade.
While the government completes a crocodile management plan, many residents in Jamaica still dread the reptiles, and saving them is a mostly a mission of mercy for a handful of enthusiasts. Henriques, for one, said the government should set aside wildlife preserves to protect the iconic creatures, speaking as he sprayed water on several juvenile crocodiles rescued from threatening situations.
"As it is now," he said, "the resources to protect crocs are so small compared to the problems that we face that it will be a never-ending fight."
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