Crocodile City

The city of Bontang in East Kalimantan is currently mulling construction of a crocodile park, where crocodiles caught from local estuaries can be raised and removed from overlapping and volatile habitats with humans, a city official said on Thursday.

“We are still looking for a location of about two hectares to accommodate those crocodiles,” said Fahrullah, the head of the Environmental office in the city of Bontang. “There have been several cases now of people being bitten by crocodiles in a number of locations.”

Fahrullah also said that an estimated 200 crocodiles live in estuaries, and are believed to inhabit up to 22 locations.

Bontang has seen five cases of attacks by crocodiles this year, two of them fatal. Most of the victims were fishermen preparing to   go to sea in the early hours of the day. “For the time being, we are only installing warning boards,” Fahrullah said.

Since the crocodile is a protected species, authorities try to take care with the beasts, and often do little more than warn the population to use caution near areas where crocodiles are believed to live.

“We do not yet dare capture them because we have no place to keep them,” Fahrullah said.

Jakarta Globe

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