Wednesday, August 10

73 croc attacks on humans in last two decades

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KUCHING: Seventy-three crocodile attacks on human beings have been recorded since 1990, 33 of them fatal, says Special Functions Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem.

“The increase in crocodile population has subsequently led to conflicts with humans, especially those depending on rivers for their livelihood and transportation,” Adenan said in his winding-up speech yesterday.

He said the government had taken proactive steps to resolve the issue by implementing educational and awareness programmes with the local communities, putting up crocodile warning signs at sites known to be infested with crocodiles and culling operation at rivers with high crocodile population.

“The capture and culling of crocodiles from their natural habitats are part and parcel of the wildlife management, yet these are often viewed negatively by certain groups of people,” he said.

Adenan said the recent International Crocodile Conference (ICC) in Kuching was organised to share and gather ideas on resolving the human-crocodile conflict.

Among the resolutions of the ICC are to come up with a standard and monitoring programme and to establish a comprehensive database; to determine the strategy to downgrade crocodile status from Convention on International Trade in Engendered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) Appendix I to CITES Appendix II; to prepare sufficient allocation for long term management and monitoring crocodile population; to prepare safety guidelines for river users and to ensure that crocodile management plan would benefit local communities.