A SINGLE crocodile, surfacing and swimming along Sungai Klang near the busy Kota Bridge, can contribute RM10mil in annual tourism revenue for the municipality.
That is the opinion of Klang Municipal Council (MPK) president Datuk Mohamad Yasid Bidin.
He said the recent sightings of a single saltwater crocodile could help drive the local economy through tourism, including spin-offs to local businesses.
“It has created much interest among Klangites and domestic tourists from other states.
“Even buses with foreign tourist are stopping to see if their passengers can catch a glimpse of the creature.
“I have been told that domestic and foreign tourists have made it a point to stop at Jambatan Kota to get a glimpse of the crocodile since the news appeared on Feb 7 in The Star Online titled ‘Croc sighting near busy bridge’,” Mohamad Yasid said.
The sighting was captured in a short video clip, which has since gone viral on social media.
According to local fishermen, there are actually three crocodiles in the river, with one measuring 9m.
Mohamad Yasid said from his observation, tourists who came with hopes of seeing the crocodile usually cooled off in the afternoon heat with a bowl of cendol, a traditional dessert.
“Some shop at Pasar Jawa, while others venture to Emporium Makan opposite Kota Bridge to try the food at the stalls.
“This is the economic benefit that the crocodile has brought to the municipality.
“Other municipalities do not have a river in the middle of town with a saltwater crocodile swimming in it.
“The bonus is that we have a double-decker bridge that functions as an observation platform for the people to watch the crocodile,” he said.
Mohamad Yasid said although the crocodile did not pose a danger to the public, MPK has put up warning signs along the riverbanks and urged people not to throw stones or disturb the nesting site.
Warning signs stating “Crocodile Habitat Area” were put up at Taman Pengkalan Batu, Taman Pengkalan Kampar and Taman Sungai Jati sluice gate.
MPK also posted a video on YouTube (to inform people to be careful.
“We have warned people not to make attempts to catch the crocodile as it is more of a tourism resource alive than as a dish cooked in dried chillies or a pot of meat soup for some,” he said.
MPK Corporate Communications director Norfiza Mahfiz said Klang was fortunate to have the crocodile in the river.
“We must not take the river for granted and overlook the opportunities it offers.
“Our river is now the habitat of the crocodile and fish such as tilapia, keli and patin. With such natural wildlife, the economic value of the town grows,” she said.
Mohamad Yasid added that this stretch of the river would be reviewed to take into consideration its contribution to local tourism.
Certain areas would be fenced up to ensure that people did not encroach and disturb the crocodile’s nesting site, he revealed.
“Klang has various tourism products, and we have seen impressive growth despite a sluggish economy.
“According to the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation – Klang’s Little India is a shopping haven that sees an annual business of RM750mil,” Mohamad Yasid said.
He added that the crocodile sensation was bound to be a boon for Little India, Pasar Jawa and many eateries.