Crocodile captured by Sulu fishermen to be transferred to Palawan
ZAMBOANGA CITY—A seven-foot long saltwater crocodile will be transported Friday to Palawan’s crocodile farm following its accidental capture off Pangutaran, Sulu, last week by local fishermen.
Major Edilberto Aramponi, spokesperson of the Joint Task Group Sulu, said the transfer of the crocodile, which has been named Pangutaran, was being undertaken in coordination with the military and wildlife agencies.
Aramponi said fishermen from Pangutaran were pulling their net off Sitio Sibagting in Barangay Simbahan last week when they saw an unusual catch–a crocodile.
“It was trapped in the net,” he said.
Aramponi said the fishermen did not know what to do with the reptile, a youthful male saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), and contacted the local police.
“The fishermen found the crocodile at a mangrove area. They reported their find to the police, which in turn, coordinated with us for help in seeking assistance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources,” Aramponi said by telephone.
Colonel Alan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a telephone interview that they immediately coordinated with wildlife personnel from the DENR and from the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center.
The center’s director, Veronica de Guzman, then traveled to Sulu with two members of her team and the DENR Zamboanga officer, Tito Gadon.
With the use of Philippine Navy’s multipurpose attack craft, Arrojado said, Pangutaran was transported to this city Thursday night. It was to be brought to Palawan anytime from Friday.
Gadon said Pangutaran was the second saltwater crocodile caught off Sulu.
He said the crocodile might have been separated from a group of crocodiles basking off Pangutaran and was caught by bad weather last week.
Gadon said “Pangutaran” might have come from Tawi-Tawi. According to him, one of the islands there is a crocodile nesting place.
But how did the croc from Tawi-Tawi end up in Sulu?
He said it must have gone there to feed with a group of other crocodiles.
“An adult saltwater crocodile can travel for 100 kilometers a day at sea. They are very territorial too, but a baby like that cannot afford to challenge any threat to protect its territory, so in order to save or protect it, we have to bring him to the Palawan farm for conservation and as breeder,” Gadon said.
But Gadon said while the Tawi-Tawi theory was being considered, the DENR will also try to find a crocodile habitat in Sulu as it was the second time a member of the same species was found there.
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