Cyprus Mail

Greens: political pressure ensured crocodile park permit

File photo

Green Party chairman Giorgos Perdikis charged on Wednesday that political pressure was put on the environment department to allow the operation of a crocodile theme park in the area of Psematismenos, Larnaca, despite disagreements.

Speaking after a House environment committee meeting, Perdikis said none of the 10 advisors from various government departments and other organisations gave a positive view but that the minister put pressure on the environment authority to issue the permit.

“We have many indications and information that there is a political decision for the project to go ahead,” Perdikis said, adding that the agriculture minister, “who wants the project to go ahead for his own reasons” had put a lot of pressure on the environment authority.

“We denounce this political intervention in a case that must be viewed objectively with criteria relating to the environment, and the safety of the residents.”

The park now only needs the go-ahead of the town-planning department.

Committee chairman, AKEL MP, Adamos Adamou, said the environment department’s decision included special, strict conditions.

“What is left is the town-planning department’s decision, whose representative told us that they will take into account the concerns of the residents, the environmental organisations, and the movements against the crocodile farm, before the final decision,” Adamou said.

He stressed that the island’s biodiversity and its habitats must be protected.

“Crocodiles are an alien species and in the event that this farm goes ahead it would need great attention and robust safeguards,” he said.

The possibility of the spread of disease must also be examined, Adamou added.

Charalambos Charalambous, representing the residents, voiced their opposition to the park.

He also cited reports in neighbouring Israel where crocodiles escaped and there were also cases of West Nile Virus.

Costas Constantinou, the co-owner of the group of companies planning to build the farm, said it will have 170 to 200 of the aquatic reptiles.

He said the company would comply with the strict conditions set by the environment department for the theme park that is expected to cost €8mln. It will plant thousands of native trees and bushes and will adhere to strict safety rules.

The crocodiles will be brought from a farm in Israel and each one bear a radio frequency identification tag (RFID) for identification and tracking purposes.



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