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Bang Tao crocodile has a name




After another veterinarian checkup, the saltwater crocodile found in an old tin mine near Layan and Bang Tao beaches has been named “Laypang”. Fisheries Officers visited a crocodile farm, show and zoo but haven’t found yet any record about a missing crocodile while the Marine Specialist said that this maybe the beginning of a saltwater crocodile study in Thailand.

Yesterday (August 4), Fisheries Officers inspected 3 possible locations known to own such reptiles including a crocodile farm, crocodile show and the Phuket Zoo and found that all their certified crocodiles were accounted for. Officers are investigating the possibility of illegal crocodile breeding around Phuket as well as the project of“Laypang” to have come from the local environment.

Meanwhile, Dr.Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a famous marine specialist, has posted a suggestion on his personal Facebook that some local witnesses spotted a crocodile in 2013, though Phuket is not known to be an environment for breeding the reptile.

“In the case it comes from nature, I would recommend the authorities such as a crocodile specialist, fisheries officers and local people together, to search for a clue on where the breeding ground is,” said Dr.Thon.

“Listening to the locals who have lived in the area for a long time can be also useful as well as DNA tests and if the result shows that the crocodile comes from nature, we have to make sure everyone will be happy with the solution whether they’re released back to where they’re found or released to another area.”

“The microchip animal tracker is quite difficult in this case too as it has a limit of time and distance. If needed, Laypang should be well treated at the centre until all sectors agree for the best solution as it may take time for the process to find a home for the 3 metre crocodile.

“People who are worried about Laypang can also file an idea to help the officials decide. This crocodile can possibly be the start of a concrete study on saltwater crocodiles in Thailand when we will be able to mark which province the saltwater crocodile comes from and how to preserve and take care of them,” the specialist added.

Local villagers living around the area spoke to the Phuket Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Centre saying that there were some saltwater crocodiles spotted near Bang Tao and Layan Beach for decades, even before hotels in the area were built and before tin mining. Some people mentioned that there was a crocodile caught in the tin mine lake by the locals but there’s no report as they thought it’s natural to see the reptile there. Recently, in 2013, there was also a crocodile spotted swimming at Mai Khao Beach, according to the villagers.

PHOTO: Kritsada Mueanhawong


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