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Olympic course brings zoological park comparison

Competitors remark on the wealth of wildlife at Rio venue.

Published:
17th August 2016
Country
Categories:
Designing your course,Working with nature
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A capybara; the world’s largest rodent.  
The Korean Times has reported on the experience of their national women golfer’s on the Olympic course in Rio with reference to the abundance of wildlife at the “zoo-like” venue.  The players have been up close to Brazil’s exotic animals on the golf course.

“A huge rat was standing right next to the third hole. It was scary”, In Gee Chun, last year's US Women's Open Golf Championship winner, told the Times’ reporter after one of her practice rounds.  The animal in question was actually a capybara, the largest rodent in the world, which can grow up to one meter in length and weigh up to 65 kilogrammes.  Despite its size, it doesn't pose any danger to the golfers.  Mark Johnson, Director of International Agronomy for the PGA Tour confirmed that “There are about 30 to 40 of them inside the course perimeter, but they live here and we play golf here, we co-exist”.

On the same day, the country's star golfer Inbee Park had a close encounter on the course with a caiman, a small crocodile-like creature.  Three to four caimans reportedly live there, but they don't attack humans either.

The golf course also provides a safe haven for burrowing owls, with a sign near 12th hole that reads: “In front of owls' home. Watch your step.”  Monkeys, boa constrictors and sloths are also found on the site, with Austrian golfer Bernd Wiesberger, who tied 11th place in the men’s event, Tweeting “Start of the day: capybaras 2, caimans 1, owls 3, and mosquitoes 0.”

The golf course, built for the Olympics events, features an environment-friendly design, and has recently been recognised for this in achieving the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) Certified® Development status.