MOE camp stops water activities after croc sighting

Straits Times 22 Apr 12;

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has stopped all water-based activities at its Jalan Bahtera Adventure Centre after a crocodile was spotted in the waters off Lim Chu Kang.

The unwelcome visitor first appeared on March 29, said a spokesman for MOE.

Mr Sim Song Huat, who runs a fish farm opposite the centre, told The Sunday Times he had noticed a 2m-long crocodile nearby. 'I saw it swimming around where the students usually kayak,' he said. 'I decided to notify the camp operators since it could be dangerous.'

The operator then reported the matter to the ministry. Schools that have booked activities such as canoeing from now until the end of the year have been told of the suspension, said the MOE spokesman.

But it appears there may be more than one crocodile lurking in the area. Mr Sim's friends from other fish farms had seen a bigger 4m-long crocodile at a nearby pier.

In waters near Kranji Reservoir, other fishermen have also spotted crocodiles, Mr Sim said. He estimated there could be six of them in all.

The last time he saw one was about a year ago, he added, noting that in his 20 years of running a fish farm in the area, these were his only sightings.

At the nearby Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a few estuarine crocodiles have visited over the years, appearing in the water or at the mudflats away from the visitor routes.

'We suspect that they move about freely in the Johor Strait,' said Mr Wong Tuan Wah, National Parks Board's director of conservation. He advised visitors to stay calm and back away slowly if they encounter a crocodile.

Meanwhile, fishermen in the area seem unfazed and were still wading into the sea to cast their nets. 'They usually run away when they see us, so we are not worried,' quipped Mr Sim.