MIRI: The difficult task of relocating crocodiles will be carried out at all costs by Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) if the reptiles have attacked humans.
Its deputy general manager (Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation Division) Oswald Braken Tisen said over the years several crocodiles were relocated from different parts of the state.
“We have relocated several crocodiles that had attacked or killed human beings in Miri Division to Miri Crocodile Farm.
“The farm had been supportive of our operation and we hope they continue to do so as we can’t relocate the crocs to other open places since they would return,” Braken told The Borneo Post yesterday.
He added that crocodile normally had a foot range of 100 km so relocating them to rivers with no humans around will not help. They have to be put in an enclosure or killed with the permission of the Controller as required under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998, under which crocodiles are listed as protected animals.
Braken was asked to comment on public requests including those posted in social media, urging SFC to keep Miri River free from crocs for the safety of the people, and for the river to be used as a sports recreational ground.
The call was made after a salt water or estuarine crocodile (crocodylus porosus) which also feeds on humans, was spotted by visitors at the mouth of the Miri River on June 2.
Asked whether SFC would be relocating that croc and nine others from Miri River, Braken said SFC Miri had been entrusted to look into the matter.
“SFC Miri has the schedules and plans on crocodile management, public awareness programmes as well as efforts by its SWAT team (Swift Wildlife Action Team) on relocation of crocs,” he pointed out.
A spokesperson for SFC Miri when contacted said so far there is no urgency to relocate the crocodiles in Miri River except its tributary Teneku River and at Suai, Niah which had been done recently after the reptiles killed humans.
“The one at Teneku River was relocated early this year to Miri Crocodile Farm while the one at Suai was killed. As for the recent crocodile attack at Sungai Karap in Bakong, where the victim has yet to be found, we are still working on it,” said the spokesperson.
One crocodile was relocated from the pond at Bulatan Park several years back.
The spokesperson said it should not be thought that SFC only acted after someone had been attacked or killed.
“The croc in Miri River is still juvenile at about 10 feet long and poses no danger to humans unless provoked.
“How many should be relocated and what about their life cycle?
“Miri could gain economically from these reptiles as in countries like Thailand and Australia where croc watching is a lucrative activity that can be done for Suai and Sibuti,” the spokesperson suggested.
Meanwhile, SFC Miri will continue to monitor the situation and carry out public awareness programmes on crocs and other wildlife protected under the ordinance.
The public are urged to cooperate with SFC by reporting sightings or cases of crocodiles attacking humans. The SFC’s 24-hour hotline is 019-8290994 or email firstname.lastname@example.org