Tuesday, December 7

Crocodile sighting alarms villagers

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KENINGAU: A crocodile that appeared in the Pamalan River at Kampung Toboh Baru here three weeks ago alarmed the villagers, and a search operation was conducted along the river for the reptile yesterday.

Some people had also seen the crocodile under some bushes near the river, believed to be looking for food.

“I was fishing at the river bank one evening when I saw the crocodile crawling up,” said villager Willie Kadou, 30, yesterday.

He said the sighting was made three weeks ago.

“I am sure it was a crocodile over 1.5 metres long because at the time it was still daylight,” he said, adding that he stopped fishing and rushed home to tell the villagers.

He said although three weeks had passed, concerns and worries over the safety of the villagers prompted them to report the appearance of the crocodile to a RELA officer and the Wildlife Department here.

Meanwhile, another resident, Ambrose Anthony, 50, said he also saw a crocodile in the river in September last year measuring about one meter long.

“I believe the crocodile that appeared before Willie three weeks ago is the same one that I saw five months ago,” he said.

He said the Pamalan River is used to irrigate rice fields, for fishing and also for village children to bathe.

Acting on the report by the villagers, RELA and the Wildlife Department conducted a search operation together with villagers at 8am until last evening yesterday, but only traces of the crocodile were found near some bamboo trees.

District RELA officer Venantius Masingga led the search together with 40 personnel and four staff from the Wildlife Department,

He said the crocodile had been seen by the people in the village before, and believes that it is still in the river.

“I advise villagers to stop fishing in this river, especially at night, and children should not bathe in the river for their safety,” he said.

Also in the search operation were Kampung Toboh Baru Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) chairperson Connie Anjumin and Toboh Laut JKKK chairman Bernard Gahim.