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Monday, 5 May 2014

Wild crocodile's death a mystery

A 400kg crocodile, probably one of the largest to have roamed wild here in decades, has been found dead on the Kranji Reservoir grounds.

Fondly nicknamed Barney by anglers, its death has puzzled experts as the creature had seemed relatively young and healthy, and had no visible injuries.

National water agency PUB, which oversees the area, said it was informed about the dead reptile about three weeks ago.

The 3.6m-long saltwater crocodile was disposed of at a nearby farm.

More saltwater crocodiles – the world’s largest reptile and known to be formidable predators – have been spotted in Singapore in recent years.

Last year, about 10 of them were found living in waters around the north-western coastline, up from two in 2008.

There have also been regular sightings at Sungei Buloh and around Kranji Reservoir, although PUB said none had been reported in Kranji in 2012 and last year.

A day after Barney was found dead in an area open to the public – but difficult to access – farewell messages popped up on popular angling website Fishing Kaki.

“Goodbye, Barney from Kranji,” said one commenter, who posted a photo of its body.

The person added: “FishingKaki.com salutes you and we know your offspring will carry a torch for you. We heart you.”

The cause of the reptile’s death is unclear.

Subaraj Rajathurai, director of Strix Wildlife Consultancy, said it is very rare for crocodiles in the wild to die of disease. They generally live about 70 years.

Solomon Anthony, 36, a volunteer with the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, said the creature did not look old.

“It had a good set of teeth, whereas a very old crocodile would have lost almost all its teeth,” he said.

Experts say it was a pity the body had gone to a farm, as researchers could have solved the mystery through an autopsy.

Knowing the cause of death was also important for public safety in the unlikely event it was killed by the reservoir water, they added. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Tags / Keywords: world


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