Malaysia: Reprieve for Miri crocodile

Desmond Davidson The New Straits Times 27 Sep 11;

MIRI: Work to drain a man-made lake in a popular recreational park here to snare a 4m crocodile has been stopped.

The week-long hunt for the reptile, that made a home for itself in the lake and successfully eluded officers from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), had also been called off.

Draining the lake completely would kill all aquatic life there, the Civil Defence Department said yesterday.

The department had been given the task to drain the lake at Taman Bulatan in Pujut here.

Its spokesman, Iqbal Abdollah, said the water level at the lake, almost the size of a football field, was down to less than a metre when the order came to stop the pumps.

"The authorities have also decided to let the crocodile stay in the lake."

Iqbal said if the order had not come, the lake would have been completely drained by Sunday.

Despite using many traps and baits, crocodile hunters still could not snare the reptile.

One of the hunters said the reptile even managed to free itself from one of the traps.

Iqbal said Miri City Hall would post signboards around the lake to warn people of the crocodile, and not to swim in the lake or play near the water's edge.

"We will place officers to monitor the situation and make sure everyone takes the warning seriously."

SFC general manager Wilfred Landong had earlier said he personally preferred to let the crocodile live in the lake as long as safety features were put in place.

He had said the presence of the reptile could be an added attraction to the park by luring crocodile watchers.

Draining the lake to hunt the crocodile was a major spectacle in this oil town, with people making a beeline for the park just to see what was going on.

Lake being drained to catch 4m croc
Desmond Davidson New Straits Times 26 Sep 11;

MIRI: Authorities have resorted to the drastic measure of draining a man-made lake at a popular recreational park here to catch a crocodile that made its way there.

The oil town is abuzz with talk about the reptile.

Work to lower the water level at the lake in Taman Bulatan could take up to a week.

Crocodile hunters are on standby.The lake, the size of a football field, is about two metres deep.

“We’re giving this priority.

We want to catch the crocodile alive and relocate it to the wild,” said Sarawak Forestry Corporation general manager Wilfred Landong.

Landong, who is also the state chief wildlife warden, said the crocodile, estimated to be four metres in length, was believed to have made its way to the lake via the lake’s drainage system or crawled from Sungai Miri, 2km away. “Crocodiles have been known to crawl up to 100km,” he said.

Landong said, personally, he would prefer to leave the crocodile where it was. “There’s no danger to anyone if we add additional safety barriers.” The crocodile, first spotted a week ago, could be an added attraction in the park, he said.