60 Minutes: African Nile Crocodile Diving In Okavango Delta & Croc DNA

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60 Minutes: Nile Crocodile

The African Nile Crocodile is the most deadly and dangerous crocodile species in the world, growing 20 feet long and weighing as much as a car. Not much is known about these prehistoric creatures, because they are dangerous and difficult to study…until now. Anderson Cooper accompanied two documentarians trying to learn more about the species.

60 Minutes: Okavango Delta

60 Minutes: African Nile Crocodile Diving In Okavango Delta & Croc DNA

Anderson Cooper took 60 Minutes diving along with the African Nile Crocodile in the Okavango Delta for an eye-opening and stunning underwater view.

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In Africa’s Okavango Delta, hundreds of miles of waterways house wildlife naturally, including thousands of Nile Crocodiles. Brad Bestelink and his wife, Andy Crawford, have been taking risks to follow crocs underwater with video cameras.

The dark world is very different, and visibility is low. The first you might see of a Nile crocodile is its shining teeth. The couple said that they realized the potential when a crocodile once swam between them.

60 Minutes: Brad Bestelink & Andy Crawford

Brad and Andy have been getting closer to the creatures as they get more comfortable. Andy said that they are incredible and beautiful; seeing them in a different light has changed her perspective.

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Andy said that she has seen more of the crocodiles’ vulnerabilities and other qualities. That is a stark contrast to their reputation as patient predators who drown and dismember their prey–animals as well as people.

60 Minutes: Nile Crocodile Protection

The Nile Crocodile is a protected species, but Brad and Andy want to learn more about the creatures to help preserve them in the wild.

A zoologist has visited the couple to learn about their work. He has studied crocodiles for 18 years, and even he thought this project had dangerous potential. His goal is to build a database on crocodiles that can help scientists protect them.

60 Minutes: Nile Crocodile DNA Samples

In the past, crocodiles had to be captured so zoologists could learn about them up close. Anderson Cooper and the team got a crocodile in their boat to get some DNA samples that will help them learn more about the migratory patterns.

Cooper echoed the sentiment that they are beautiful to observe up close, and they are softer to the touch than most people probably imagine. The stressful work doesn’t end until you get the animal back in the water.

60 Minutes: Cold-Blooded Crocodiles

Diving can only take place during the chilly winter months. Cold-blooded crocodiles are less active in the colder water, making them easier to be around than during their active summer months.

Brad said that he does not want to die, and tries to use good judgement in studying the animals. His grandfather was a famed crocodile hunter, who is estimated to have killed tens of thousands of crocodiles.

60 Minutes: Diving With Crocodiles

Andy explained to Cooper that the surface of the water is the most dangerous place to be. She said they believe that once they are submerged, the animals don’t recognize them as prey. But there is no way to be sure.

One huge crocodile got very close to the diving team, gliding over one cameraman. Finally, Anderson Cooper was convinced to make the trip, along with three other divers.

60 Minutes: Nile Crocodiles Underwater

Cooper admitted that he was apprehensive about the process, and there were no guarantees. Finally, it was time for the dive team to get into the water, and they headed for the river bottom, 15 feet down.

Visibility was good that day, which is convenient for television, and the views were full of natural beauty. The team attempted to follow a crocodile into an underwater cave.

60 Minutes: Crocodile Deep Diving

Finally, Cooper spotted a crocodile, teeth first. He said that he was intimidated by the large but beautiful creature. As the animal disappeared, the team followed deeper into the darkness.

They found another crocodile deeper in the water. This one seemed to put the team more on edge, before eventually swimming away after a tense moment.

60 Minutes: Underwater Encounters

There were still more crocs to encounter underwater, and Cooper admitted that his initial terror had given way to thrills as he stared a Nile Crocodile in the face. When that animal swam away, the team followed in pursuit.

I think just to brag, Cooper added that he once dived with great white sharks, but that this was much more scary. I guess there is nothing left for Cooper to be afraid of. Could you ever even imagine diving with these deadly creatures?

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