KINABATANGAN: A 3.96 metres female crocodile was captured and tagged within the confines of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary (LKWS) on February 6.
The female was given the name ‘Zalim’, meaning tyrannical, befitting one of the largest females in the Kinabatangan.
“Our project is a joint collaboration between Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and its Wildlife Rescue Unit, and Cardiff University (CU) and is funded by Chester Zoo – Act for Wildlife and DGFC. We seek to understand the role of this apex predator within a degraded habitat,” said Dr Benoit Goossens, director of DGFC.
He said the project had tagged seven crocodiles, five males and two females. Zalim would be studied to learn about breeding and nesting behaviour.
“This information is of great importance in a region where substantial portions of historic nesting grounds have already been converted to oil palm. In addition to the satellite unit, a small tissue sample was also taken to examine the genetic health of the crocodile population in the region,” said Goossens.
Luke Evans, a PhD student from CU leading the crocodile project at DGFC, said it was a very professional tagging.
“With large animals it is very important that the team works together. The whole team, who have extensive crocodile catching experience, worked as a unit to ensure that the tagging was as safe and as low stress as possible for the animal,” said Luke.
He said Zalim would provide important insights into nesting and habitat use of crocodiles in the area and help them to understand how humans and crocodiles could share this vital ecosystem.