Friday, July 15, 2011

Kampung Reban folk vow to hunt killer crocodile

KUCHING: Apparently the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) was not aware of the hunting and killing of crocodiles in Batang Samarahan, following the killing of a man from Kampung Reban, Serian by the reptile last year.

It was reported that so far three crocodiles had been killed since the fatal attack on the 66-year-old victim, identified as Sidi Samad, while fishing for prawns on December 18.

It was also said that the villagers had vowed to continue their hunt for the crocodile that mauled and devoured the elderly man, even if they have to kill each and every crocodile in Batang Samarahan.

So far they have caught three and disemboweled them except that it was unclear if they had captured the correct man-eater.

SFC when contacted yesterday was greatly shocked when informed about the hunting and killing of the protected reptiles.

“Do you have the evidence of the hunting?”

Its senior officer said to The Borneo Post in disbelief, who understood that such reaction was natural for anyone with a duty to protect and conserve endangered wildlife and in this case the crocodiles.

Obviously he was not suspecting that the villagers would go all out to hunt down the killer crocodile even to the extent of executing the innocent ones, especially when a licence was required even for the capture of crocodiles.

To hunt, capture or kill any protected animal is illegal under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance where offenders can be charged in court and are subject to penalty.

Nevertheless, under the present circumstances, it was unclear whether those responsible for the execution of the crocodiles in Batang Samarahan would be facing any action from the authority concerned.

SFC also could not reveal whether any license was ever issued to the villagers to hunt, capture and kill the man-eater crocodile in Batang Samarahan.

Whatever it is, the hunting had been condemned by environmentalists, saying that the hunt should stop because the tragedy was not the crocodile’s fault.

Here it was about who to blame. Should the blame be on humans or the reptiles, with some people saying that crocodiles would only attack people to defend themselves while others said that animals were always animals, with some known to be notorious in nature.

Some studies on the characteristics and behaviours of crocodiles however, revealed that crocodiles would not harm humans unless they were hungry or being threatened.

In the recent case, it was however, not established whether the crocodile had mauled the victim because it was desperate for food or its habitat had been ‘encroached’.

But both are equally possible because after most areas near the river banks were cleared for development there were also less wild animals for crocodiles to feed on
and when desperately looking for food, they will feed on any meat that they can find.

On the other hand, it could also be possible that the crocodile had behaved notoriously when it sensed that its territory had been intruded, although there was never any intention on the part of the human being to disturb them.

However, animals are always animals. There will not be a time that they can think like human beings and in many cases even man also could not judge between right and wrong.

January 4, 2011, Tuesday Borneo Post

Foreign worker killed by crocodile

POSING DANGER TO VILLAGERS: A large crocodile sunning itself along the bank of the Baram River.

MARUDI: A foreign worker attached to a timber camp near Kuala Tutoh was killed by a crocodile recently.
The police and Fire and Rescue Department here confirmed receiving reports of the man’s tragic demise. Residents in the Baram area still live in the shadow of crocodile attacks.

Crocodiles are often seen lying on riverbanks in the area and sometimes even approach villagers on jetties.

Longhouse folk along the Baram, Tinjar and Bakong rivers depend very much on stream or river water for washing and bathing. Young children, in particular, often play games by the river and this has proven to be dangerous.

Residents hope the authorities concerned would monitor the situation to prevent further attacks in future.

They are also upset that the authorities have investigated residents who killed crocodiles.

This included a resident of a longhouse at Sg Temiang in Lower Bakong, who caught a 20-foot crocodile several years ago.

The man was later interviewed by the authorities and this upset local folk who believe their lives are more important than those of the reptiles.

Borneo Post 15/7/2011