Officers at the Chalong Pier’s Tourist Centre were first notified that a crocodile was in the marina area at Chalong Pier, in normal times a major jump-off point for tourists heading out on tours of nearby islands, after being notified by a local resident at about 2:30pm on Saturday, explained Chaiwat Lanpeaw, an officer at the centre.
The croc was estimated to be about two metres long, and was seen surfacing three times, Mr Chaiwat said.
Watcharin Rattanachoo, an officer at the Phuket Provincial Fisheries Office (PPFO), said that officers had posted red flags to warn people of the danger.
The PPFO had also called in the ’Kraithong Lumnamtapi’ team of experts from the Department of Fisheries in Surat Thani to catch the crocodile.
The team were also called in to help catch a crocodile seen at Saphan Hin last September. That croc was never caught.
Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew arrived at Chalong Pier yesterday to be briefed on any updates in the hunt for the latest crocodile.
Governor Narong noted that it might be easier to locate the crocodile once all boats had been moved out of the marina.
“All officers have been asked to continue to keep monitoring the area to help take care of people’s safety,” Governor Narong said.
“Officers have yet to learn whether the crocodile seen is a dangerous type or not, as it has not yet been caught,” he added.
A notice from Chalong Municipality urged anyone who believes they have seen the crocodile to call the Phuket Marine Office immediately at 076-391174.
Of note, Chalong Municipality’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation office in 2018 confirmed they had left a sign saying “Beware of baby crocodiles” in place at the end of Soi Palai, just 2.4km north of where the crocodile was seen on Saturday, because officials could not be sure that there were no crocodiles in the area.
The sign was posted in early February that year after residents of Soi Na Kok in Chalong’s Moo 5 area, near Soi Palai, caught a baby crocodile about 50 centimeters long and weighing about 300 grams, estimated at that time to be two to three months old.