Interesting: (From right) Unimas vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Kadim Suaidi and Tengah looking at a display of insects during the event.
KUCHING: The Forest Department has identified 23 areas in seven regions statewide as crocodile-free zones (CFZ) as part of efforts to manage human-crocodile conflict.
The proposed areas include jetties and bathing places along Batang Saribas and Sungai Rimbas in Betong, where the crocodile population density is high, as well as along Batang Seblak from Kampung Sessang to Nanga Ibus, Roban, where crocodile attacks occur frequently.
In the Kuching region, the proposed areas are the Waterfront, Pasir Panjang and Pasir Pandak, Damai Lagoon, Bako National Park, Bako village and Wind Cave Nature Reserve.
Other areas include the waterfronts of Sri Aman, Sarikei, Sibu, Bintulu, Miri, Bekenu, Marudi, Long Lama, Limbang and Lawas.
State director Sapuan Ahmad said the department would present a working paper on the proposed CFZ locations to the Resource Planning and Environment Ministry and the state Cabinet for consideration.
He said crocodiles would be placed in specially designated sanctuaries to reduce confrontations with humans.
“In line with the need for conservation, we ensure that crocodiles are protected under Section 29 of the Wildlife Protection Ordinance.
“However, people can defend themselves and their property from crocodile attacks under Section 42, but they must report to the Forest Department or district office within 24 hours of killing a crocodile in self-defence,” he said at the state-level celebration of World Wildlife Day at the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre here yesterday.
According to Sapuan, human-crocodile conflict arose from growing population which limited the reptiles’ food supply.
“The pressure for food leads to competition which sometimes disturbs human life. Lately cases of crocodile attacks have been increasing, which is a concern for all of us.”
He also said the department was launching a Wildlife Conservation Fund in conjunction with World Wildlife Day.
The fund will be managed by Sarawak Forestry Corporation.
Visitors to Semenggoh as well as members of the public are encouraged to contribute to it.