Lonely Planet Writer

Animal handlers at the ready to carry alligators off golf course during Olympic Games

Golfers lining up for Olympic glory in Rio this summer may be slightly put off on the tee by the site of trained animals handlers in the background.

Caimans are alligator lookalikes and many of them call the Olympic golf course their natural habitat
Caimans are alligator lookalikes and many of them call the Olympic golf course their natural habitat Image by Wendorf Rodríguez / CC BY 2.0

The Games’ authorities have sanctioned at least five and possibly more skilled personnel on site to scare animals, including the alligator-like caimans and large rodents called capybaras, away from the fairways.

Golf has been reintroduced to the Olympic games for the first time since the competition was held in St Louis in 19.
Golf has been reintroduced to the Olympic games for the first time since the competition was held in St Louis in 1904. Image by Krzysztof Urbanowicz / CC BY 2.0

According to Folha de S.Paulo, the  guards will be at the ready to “transport” invading animals from one side of the golf course to the other. Insidethegame.biz emphasises that there will be absolutely no risk to star names such as Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth or Phil Mickelson during their rounds.

As an added precaution, signposts will warn spectators about areas where the animals are known to frequent.
If the situation requires it, the alligator-like animals will be carried away from the course by the special handlers as a means of protecting them as much as the people in attendance.

The Barra de Tijuca course has undergone major development already understood to have cost US$10.6 million or almost €10 million.

Conservationists have criticised the work claiming it will damage the local environment.
However organisers have refuted these claims, saying that the golf course is restoring the natural habitat of animal and plant species on what was a degraded land area.
Golf will make its first appearance in the Olympics since the St Louis Games in 1904 with the men’s competition will be held from August 11 to 14.

The ladies competition commences a week later.