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Captured Phuket Crocodile Suffering From Depression

Phuket, Tue Sep 05 2017
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The 3-metre-long crocodile captured last week near a Phuket beach has been suffering from depression and hasn’t eaten while it is being kept at a Coastal Aquaculture Research and Development Region 5 in Phuket, according to the Phuket Governor, Mr Narapat Plodthong.

The governor has also been able to confirm that the animal is a salt water male crocodile after the fishery officials at the centre examined it closer but he said the crocodile needed time to adapt to its new environment which is why it has been showing signs of depression.

Mr Plodthong said the Phuket Fisheries Office has officially asked the Fisheries Department to make a decision on whether to give the animal to a state agency to take care of as it needs an agency with the necessary facilities to raise a salt water crocodile. The potential agency must have an aqua centre that is close to nature, he said.

The Phuket Fisheries Office is now seeking help from specialists to determine whether the salt water crocodile came from a natural source or is a pet crocodile. The Fisheries Office has to find out whether there are any people raising crocodiles near the area where the animal was captured so that prevention measures can be worked out.

Meanwhile, conservationists are now waging an online campaign calling on fishery officials to release the crocodile back to nature. Dr Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, vice president of the Seub Nakhasathien Foundation, posted on the Foundation’s Facebook voicing opposition to the capture with a claim that the crocodile has been in its natural habitat for a long time without causing any menace to society. In principle, the crocodile can live harmoniously with humans, he said.

“I understand the fears and the concerns of local people. But I would like the people to have more understanding of nature so that our fears are more rational - scientific information proves crocodiles are afraid of human beings. They won’t attack or bite human beings because human beings are not their food. They won’t attack us unless they are provoked, or bullied. They choose to avoid human beings and the risk of a crocodile attack in nature is close to zero.”

He went on saying that he wanted to see public reaction to be at an appropriate level so that the right decision could be worked out in a sustainable way. He said this crocodile is key in the attempt to revive salt water crocodiles in Thailand which are near extinction. He said salt water crocodiles are rare and their natural population is even less than tigers. “We now have a light of hope, so don’t let it perish in a worthless in cement pond.”

At the same time, the Facebook page of Kasetsart University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital also posted a suggestion to the Phuket governor saying if he could not yet find an appropriate agency to take care of this animal, then it would be better to release it back into its natural habitat.

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