By THE BORNEOTODAY TEAM
PENAMPANG – A 3.2 meter (10 foot 7 inches) crocodile was successfully trapped at the Togop River that flows past Kampung Ramayah here, Sunday morning.
Wildlife Rescue Unit officials from the Sabah Wildlife Department set the trap on Saturday evening after villagers reported that they had spotted the crocodile again, said SWD director Augustine Tuuga.
“This morning, the WRU informed me that they had already successfully captured ‘Olog-Olog’ which is so far the biggest crocodile that we have caught in the Penampang area,” said Tuuga in a statement.
It was a 15-hour wait for the WRU after the laid the trap – an iron cage with bait fitted inside, before ‘Olog-Olog’ fell for the oldest trick in the book.
It slithered into the trap to get at the bait, and was snared by the waiting WRU guys.
‘Olog-Olog’ will be temporarily housed at the SWD’s Wildlife Holding and Rescue Centre, but will be released to an isolated river far from villages or human settlements,” said Dr Diana Ramirez, WRU’s assistant manager.
According to SWD the crocodile had been living in the vicinity of Kampung Ramayah for several months, but the villagers realized that it was getting bigger and dangerous, and soon some of the village dogs started disappearing.
“That’s why they decided to report to SWD,” said Dr Sen Nathan, SWD assistant director.
The Togop River is a small tributary that flows into the Petagas River.
Christopher L. Sitalu, JKKK Kg Ramayah chairman, thanked the WRU for their fast and efficient assistance on this case.
“We see a drastic increase in the number of reports of crocodile sightings in our river systems as well as cases of human–crocodile conflict throughout Sabah in most of the rivers and other waterways,” said Dr Sen.
Just in a space of six years – 2010 to 2016 – more than 75 crocodiles were caught by the WRU from areas that were causing conflict with their human inhabitants and trans-located to forest reserves and rivers far from human inhabitants.
The probable reason for increase of crocodile population is due to fact that for the past 30 years we have been protecting this species from being hunted as no hunting permits were given out, added Dr Sen.