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Olympic Park Predator

On 14 December 2011 The Daily Mail featured the following article by Chris Parsons entitled 'Killer beast stalks Olympic Park as experts fear alligator or python is on the loose'.

Wildlife experts have revealed that a mysterious giant creature is lurking in waters near the Olympic Park in East London.

Witnesses alerted environment bosses after seeing a 16lb Canada goose dragged under the surface, with fears there could now be a pike, alligator or even a large python stalking the waters near the Olympic site.

The number of swans on the river and waterways near the newly-built £9bn Olympic Park is also dropping.

Mike Wells saw the deadly attack on the Canada goose from a boat on the River Lea last month.

He said: 'We were just passing the time of day looking at a Canada goose 30 yards away, but then it just suddenly disappeared.

'It went down vertically. There wasn’t any hesitation, it went straight down. It didn’t come back up. My friend and I looked at each other slack-jawed.

'Being a river person, I pieced together what we’d seen in seconds. The goose was prey to something.

'A Canada goose is not a small bird. They weigh about 16lb, so whatever took it was also large.'

Mr Wells, who lives in the Lea Valley, is convinced the beast is the same creature which took down a goose in the same area in 2005.

Lea Rivers Trust staff reported seeing a Canada goose being dragged beneath the surface in 2005, and large holes were found burrowed into the bank of the river.

He added: 'It must be the same creature. Some people I've spoken to think it could be a very large pike and I've seen some turtles about a foot across, but they're not really big enough to take a goose.'

In 2005 experts thought the creature could have been an alligator, snapping turtle, or some other kind of pet which had been released into the wild.

Experts said a trap would need to be set to catch the beast, but it appears to have returned to the same waters last month.

Mark Gallant, of the Lea Rivers Trust, said after the 2005 attack: 'Someone might buy it as a baby turtle.

'After they've had it in their pond, or bath, or whatever they are going to keep it for a while and the thing starts to grow and grow and grow and grow.

'Obviously they can't keep it in their homes anymore so what do they do? They think they are doing a good thing for the actual animal by putting it into a river or stream.'

Zoology graduate Michael Allen, who lives near the Olympic Park, told the Hackney Citizen: 'It might be an escaped pet snake like a python.

'It could survive in this climate, although it would be a bit sluggish. A small goose or a duck could be a perfect meal.'

A spokesman for British Waterways said of the incident last month: 'We don't believe there is a crocodile in the river.

'Things that have been suggested are a big pike or a mink, which can prey on ducks. But geese might be a bit big for them.'

She continued: 'In some areas you get terrapins which get dumped and have taken to the conditions well - they can get to the size of dinner plates.

'But geese might be too big for them to take as well.

'No-one has reported anything to British Waterways, but we would encourage people to get in touch if they have seen anything.'

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