KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Wildlife Department is on a hunt for an elusive crocodile that was spotted again at the Likas lagoon about 3km from the city centre.
Department director William Baya said a team of rangers from his Rescue Unit had set up traps to capture the reptile that was spotted at about 11am near the state Department of Irrigation and Drainage pump station.
Baya said this could be the same crocodile that was spotted in the area several months ago.
“We also laid traps then, but couldn’t catch the reptile,” he said.
He said those who saw the crocodile claimed it was about 1.5m long.
Since news of the sighting this morning, a picture of the crocodile has been widely circulated on social media including Facebook and WhatsApp.
Baya said catching the reptile was the department’s priority as the area surrounding the lagoon was densely populated.
“Our concern is also for people who like to go fishing in the lagoon area,” he said.
He added that the department had also issued a warning to the people in the area.
“We suspect the reptile was washed down during the recent floods from one of the crocodile farms in Tuaran and Penampang,” Baya said. Last week Baya said the number of human-crocodile conflicts statewide had been increasing drastically.
In the past five years (2010-2015), he said more than 50 crocodiles had been caught and relocated to forest reserves and rivers far from human habitation.
The crocodile population has been on the increase as the reptiles have been protected for 30 years as no hunting permits were given out.
Baya said his department would be carrying out a crocodile population study and the data would be used to manage them so that there was a sustainable population.
The department will also put up notices to warn the public to keep away from crocodile-infested rivers.
He said a 2m-long crocodile was also caught in the jogging track around Likas Sports Complex last year.
Baya said they were now hunting for two more crocodiles spotted in the monsoon drain along the state museum and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and also another near a polytechnic in Likas here.