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DNA tests on Phuket’s ‘beach croc’ to take two weeks

PHUKET: Species experts from Mahidol University arrived in Phuket today (Aug 15) to take blood samples and record the physical features of the crocodile caught at Layan Beach late last month in order to determine the exact type of crocodile the reptile is.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 15 August 2018, 07:06PM

The crocodile earlier today (Aug 15). Photo: Paisarn Sukpunwan

The crocodile earlier today (Aug 15). Photo: Paisarn Sukpunwan

The crocodile, a female measuring 2.5 metres long, was captured near the rocks off Koh Kata, just offshore from Layan Beach, before dawn on July 29. (See story here.)

The capture came after an 11-day hunt that started at Yanui Beach, where it was first spotted, to Nai Harn Beach where it was spotted the next day, then along the coast to Kata, Karon and even at the southern end of Patong Bay. (See story here.)

At the marine life research centre at Baan Laem Sai in Mai Khao, Thalang, today, the Mahidol team took measurements and recorded their observations, and took blood samples.

“The blood samples will sent to Kasetsart University to find out what species of crocodile this is,” one member of team confirmed today.

The results are expected to take two weeks.

Meanwhile, Phuket Fisheries Chief Kowit Kao-ian today repeated the ongoing call for any persons with unregistered crocodiles to report them to his office as soon as possible – despite Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong last month making it plain that anyone caught in possession of an unregistered crocodile after Aug 10 would face the full brunt of the law.

QSI International School Phuket

“We have issued notices to the owners of crocodile farms to register all their crocdiles. Also, people can inform the Phuket Fisheries Office if they find a crocodile in the Phuket area.

“This is important because it affects tourists’ safety,” he said.

“Currently, not one person has shown up to register any crocodiles or update the number of crocodiles in their keeping. If the owner is not active about it, (and caught) they can be fined up to B10,000 or even face one year in jail, so please hurry up,” Mr Kowit said.

Paisarn Sukpunwan, head of the Administration Department at the Phuket Fishery Office, today remained adamant that the crocodile is from a crocodile show or farm.

“I have inspected all five crocodile breeder farms in Phuket, and they all say that none of their crocodiles are missing – but there is moss on this crocodile’s back, and that shows it is very likely that she was kept in captivity because the moss shows that she lived in still water for long time,” Mr Paisarn said.

“So if anyone sees a person buy lot of meat, mostly likely chicken, that is suitable for this animal that they suspect is for a crocodile, please call us at 076-212460, 089-8665991 or 08-1731-8923,” Mr Paisarn said.



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