KOTA KINABALU: An adult crocodile about 4.4m in length was caught by Pulau Gaya villagers after it was earlier spotted roaming around the waters near the island.
Sightings of the male crocodile first caused a stir early Saturday.
Videos of the reptile swimming at the waters near the coastal city here, including near Tanjung Aru, were circulated and quickly went viral.
The state Civil Defence Force said it received a report that Pulau Gaya residents had captured a crocodile at around 5pm on the same day, and proceeded to send a team there to assist in transporting the reptile to the mainland.
However, due to the weight of the crocodile – at 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,” the Civil Defence Force said in a statement.
‘’The team proceeded to secure the bindings and cover its head with clothe before transporting it to Tanjung Aru at 8.58pm.
“However, they only reached the lifeguard tower at 11.49pm since the crocodile was so heavy.
‘’Another team of five from Delta squad, who were waiting at the tower, assisted in moving the reptile to the Sabah Wildlife Department lorry.
“The transport process was completed by 1.03am (yesterday),” it said.
Wildlife Department staff then sent the reptile to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park rescue centre for a health inspection, and will release it back to the wild soon.
State department director Augustine Tuuga thanked the police and personnel from the Civil Defence Force for their assistance, as well as the island villagers for reporting the incident and handing over the crocodile to the authorities.
Tuuga also reminded the public to exercise caution when faced with a wildlife-human conflict.