The animals live in vegetation surrounding the newly built golf course, and five trained handlers have been hired to scare off capybaras, which are rodents that weigh up to 100 lbs., and carry caiman off the course to protect both players and the animals.
Rio Olympics chiefs are hiring staff to keep golf stars safe from caimans and capybaras, the Mirror reported.
The exotic wildlife lives in vegetation surrounding the new golf course constructed for this summer’s games. Masters champion Danny Willett, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are among the top stars set to compete as golf returns to the Games for the first time in more than a century, the Mirror reported.
At least five trained handlers will scare animals on the course, including capybaras, the world’s largest rodent, weighing in at 100 lbs. Specially trained staff will be on standby to “transport the animals from one side of the course to another,” the Mirror reported.
There will be no risk to players or members of the public, said organizers, with caimans known to flee when surrounded by people. But signposts will also be erected to warn spectators of where animals are known to be. Caimans would be carried off the course, action designed to protect the animals rather than the public, the Mirror reported.
Development of the course attracted criticism from campaigners in the city, who claimed it would damage the environment. An International Olympic Committee Executive Board meeting last year was interrupted by protesters who branded President Thomas Bach a “nature killer” for the construction of the course, the Mirror reported.
It is not the first time an Olympic venue has taken steps to ensure the safety of competitors. Six divers were equipped with shark-repelling sonar devices escorting triathletes through the harbor during the Sydney games in 2000, the Mirror reported.
American Jordan Spieth views going for gold as akin to winning a major. “Winning a gold medal has got to be up there now, in my mind, with winning a major championship.”
He is likely to be part of a strong American team in Rio. Top 15 ranked players are guaranteed a place at the Games, up to four per country, the Mirror reported.