Croc's death, disposal raise questions

The Straits Times AsiaOne 13 May 14;

I am dismayed at the quick disposal of the saltwater crocodile's carcass found in Kranji Reservoir ("Bye, bye Barney"; last Sunday).

Crocodiles are a very hardy species - especially one weighing 400kg - with an average life span of about 70 years. It is rare for them to die of disease in a natural habitat.

The circumstances surrounding the death of the crocodile, nicknamed Barney by anglers, surely would have raised alarm and merited further investigation, especially an autopsy to determine the cause of its premature death. It should also trigger a warning of the possibility of some ecosystem anomalies.

What is the existing modus operandi when the carcass of an animal belonging to a significant wildlife species is found? Why wasn't expert advice sought in Barney's case? And why wasn't the carcass considered for preservation? Did the authorities determine whether it was deliberately poisoned? And how was the carcass disposed of?

Can the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority comment?

Letter by Edmund Lam (Dr)

PUB probing crocodile's death
The Straits Times AsiaOne 18 May 14;

PUB, the national water agency, and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) thank Dr Edmund Lam for his letter ("Croc's death, disposal raise questions"; Sunday).

On April 18, the PUB was informed of a dead crocodile at Kranji Reservoir. The authorised crocodile handler found a metal rod had pierced its eye, and a large fishing hook was lodged in its mouth.

The PUB has been investigating this as a case of poaching but has yet to be able to identify the culprits.

We remind the public that it is dangerous and illegal to hunt crocodiles and other wild animals. The poaching of wild animals carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and forfeiture of the animal. Members of the public should call the AVA's hotline on 1800-476-1600 to report any suspected poaching activities.

Tan Nguan Sen
Director, Catchment & Waterways Department
PUB, the national water agency

Yap Him Hoo (Dr)
Group Director, Quarantine and Inspection Group
Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority