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Aquanews
Get a Grip on Pond Management before It Gets a Grip on You
by Marcos J. De Jesus
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
PD/A CRSP Peru Site Project
The summer of 1999 brought spine-tingling episode into the lives of the field workers at the IIAP-Quistococha aquaculture research station in Iquitos, Peru. The “incident” added a mystical twist to an otherwise customary day at this facility. A PD/A CRSP aquaculture study was underway, and routine maintenance to control macrophytes was being conducted in the research ponds. Field technicians soon discovered just how gripping pond management could be.

Pond 14 is a long shallow pond at the edges of the research facility. It is adjacent to a small

una boa negra!” The worker warned his mates of the presence of what we know as an anaconda. They decided to cautiously continue their work, but in a matter of minutes, the same worker had a second encounter with the reptilian beast. The snake slithered up one of the worker’s legs and wrapped itself around his waist up to his chest and around his shoulder. Fortunately, the snake didn’t strike its victim with an initial bite as it normally does to subdue its prey. That was of little consolation to the entangled victim as the anaconda exerted a suffocating grip and slapped him down into the depths of the
aid of a witch doctor to dispose of any curses he might have gotten from the animal, and in particular, the curse death. The witch-doctor apparently
pond. Miraculously, the worker managed to struggle to his feet and attempted to slash the animal with his machete. His attempt to sever the animal proved futile as the snake’s muscles were so tense the blade bounced off as if it had struck a steel-belted tire. The worker was pulled
knew what to do for the man quickly recovered and now continues his labor at the facility. However, he and others have shown little inclination to enter pond 14.

In the Amazon, the anaconda is believed to possess mystical powers that affect the people it encounters. They also believe that its body parts bring luck and are a medicinal source for an array of human ailments. This makes the snake more valuable dead than alive. The predator is very important to the ecosystem surrounding the facility, and it clearly deserves to thrive in its environment. Aquaculturists must learn to effectively manage their ponds to prevent unwelcome incidents such as the one described above. The snake has not been seen since. Perhaps it is waiting for the pond to be choked with weeds again.

area of swampland that serves as excellent habitat for a variety of wetland species. The swampy conditions extended over the water levee into the pond. As workers manually worked the roughage with their machetes, they approached the levee by the swamp. As one worker waded towards a small patch of grass he felt something slide between his legs. Frozen in place, he yelled to his mates: “Boa! Aqui hay
under two more times before the snake elected to release him. His co-workers pulled him to the bank. He suffered several bruises around his body, chest pains, and a tad bit of anxiety. Witnesses estimated the anaconda to range between 12 and 15 feet in length.

The story does not end here for this creature is believed by the locals to possess mystical powers. The victim sought the


Capitol Hill Event
…from p. 4
The CRSPs focus their research on nutrition and income generation through improved food production and natural resource management in the developing countries of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eurasia, while making important contributions to agriculture and agribusiness in the US. The pictures and captions in the display represented some of the benefits and activities of the CRSPs.
Director Hillary Egna attended the event representing the PD/A CRSP. The CRSP Council presented a display demonstrating the many development activities and achievements of the nine CRSPs. These programs link US land-grant universities with international research institutions around the world and provide mutual benefits to the US as well as other participating countries.