The response, supported by officers from the Department of Fisheries who have inspected the venue, Phuket Crocodile World on Chao Fa West Rd in Chalong, follows the allegation being posted online through TikTok, which also alleged that the crocodiles had been abandoned.
Sittiphon Muangsong of the Phuket Fisheries Office, inspecting the venue in person yesterday (July 7), explained that all crocodiles on site must be registered with his office.
The crocodile “farm” when opening some seven years ago had initially registered 32 crocodiles, of which four had died over the years.
The remaining 28 were not suffering in health, Mr Sittiphon said. “We can see they are not thin,” he noted.
The allegation followed the operator posting online an open invitation for members of the public to come and see the crocodiles for free, despite the venue still being closed as a tourist attraction.
People were also invited to bring food for the crocodiles.
“Aunt Kaew”, who still serves as the caretaker of the venue explained, “If no one comes to feed the crocodiles, the owner will bring the food himself. But now we think this is better than the crocodiles staying alone, so we allow people to come and see them for free.”
The venue is open from about 8-9am to about 5-6pm each day, but the lights are usually switched off to save money, “Aunt Kaew” added.
“If possible, I want a lot of people to come and see the crocodiles so they will not be lonely,” she said.
Sakul Nganwiwatthaworn, owner of Phuket Crocodile World, said he understood why people might think that the crocodiles had been abandoned, with the electricity at the site switched off, but refused the allegation that the crocodiles were being neglected.
“They are always fed and taken care of, but tourists come to see the state of the place and think of it as abandoned. We actually feed them regularly and regularly change the water,” he said.
His caretaker, “Aunt Kaew”, is in regular contact with Department of Fisheries officers, he added.
“We talk with the officers once a month, and officers often come and bring food,” Mr Sakul explained.
“The crocodiles are not starving,” Mr Sakul said.
However, Mr Sakul did offer the crocodiles as available for sale.
“The big ones cost about B10,000 each, and the small ones sell for B1,000 baht each. There are 28 crocodiles now. But if you don’t want to buy one, you can save your money and come and see them for free,” he added.
Mr Sittiphon of the Phuket Fisheries Office pointed out that he had asked Mr Sakul to improve safety at the venue by posting more signs to warn visitors of the crocodiles.
“If anyone comes to see the crocodiles they must contact the staff first for their own safety, otherwise it may be dangerous for them,” he said.
“But if you look at the crocodile pond, they cannot escape. The area is in the right place and is stable and strong. Crocodiles cannot escape from here,” he added.