KOTA KINABALU: A 4.4m-long adult crocodile was caught by Pulau Gaya villagers on Saturday (June 12) night, after it was earlier spotted roaming around the waters near the island, about a 10-minute boat ride from here.
Sightings of the male crocodile caused a stir earlier during the day, with videos of the reptile swimming in the waters near the coastal city of Kota Kinabalu being circulated, including near Tanjung Aru.
In a statement on Sunday (June 13), the state Civil Defence Force said they received a report that the animal was caught by Pulau Gaya residents around 5pm on Saturday, and proceeded to send a team there to assist in transporting it to the mainland.
However, due to the weight of the crocodile, which was over 200kg, it took them a while to reach the Tanjung Aru lifeguard tower.
“When the Bravo squad of five arrived in their boat, they found the crocodile tied up and the team proceeded to secure the bindings and cover the head part with clothing, before boarding it in the vessel to transport it to Tanjung Aru at 8.58pm.
“However, they only reached the lifeguard tower at 11.49pm since the crocodile was too heavy, and another team of five from Delta squad was waiting at the tower and assisted in moving the reptile into a Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) lorry.
“The transporting process was completed by 1.03am (on Sunday),” the force said in the statement.
SWD brought the animal to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park rescue centre for further health inspection, while waiting to find a suitable location to release it back in the wild.
SWD director Augustine Tuuga in a separate statement thanked the police and Civil Defence Force for their assistance, as well as the island villagers for reporting the incident and handing over the animal to the authorities.
“The department would like to advise the public to report to the relevant authorities, like to us, the police and the Civil Defence Force if there is any wildlife disturbance in their area,” Tuuga said, while reminding them to practise caution when faced with wildlife-human conflict.