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Phuket crocodile hunt continues as tourists ignore safety warnings

PHUKET: The search for the crocodile in the Nai Harn Beach and Yanui Beach area on Phuket’s southwest coast continues today after the search failed to find the crocodile yesterday (July 19).

tourismanimalsmarineSafetyChinese
By Eakkapop Thongtub

Friday 20 July 2018, 10:14AM


Tourists kept ignoring officials’ instructions to stay away from the water’s edge and openly defied the red flags posted marking the beach as closed. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Tourists kept ignoring officials’ instructions to stay away from the water’s edge and openly defied the red flags posted marking the beach as closed. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos ordered the search to stop at 5:30pm because of the strong wind and waves, but ordered staff to keep watch throughout the night.

Officials from a host of local agencies joined the search effort yesterday, but failed to find the reptile.

Rawai Municipality officials stationed at Ao Sane at the northern end of Nai Harn Bay yesterday afternoon reported clear, confirmed sightings of the crocodile, which they said surfaced to breathe every 20 minutes.

Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong yesterday requested for the “Kraithong Lumnamtapi” team from the Department of Fisheries in Surat Thani – named after the legendary crocodile hunter in Thai folklore – to assist.

The team arrived in Phuket today and began their search efforts along the coast from Yanui Beach to the area in front of the wind turbine.

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Rawai Municipality yesterday also posted warning signs at Nai Harn Beach  and Yanui Beach and banned tourists from entering the water.

Staff were posted to ensure tourists complied, though The Phuket News received reports of frustration from officials about tourists ignoring their instructions to stay away from the water’s edge.

Of note, the team “Kraithong Lumnamtapi” from Surat Thani assisted in the catch of “Leypang” the crocodile on Phuket’s northwest coast last year. (See story here.)

After much public debate about the fate of Leypang, that crocodile ended up being kept at Phuket Zoo. (See story here.)

 

 

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Cporosus1 | 21 July 2018 - 01:47:41

Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are native to Phuket, they just went extinct in the 1970's. These crocodiles are likely coming from Myanmar, Malaysia or Sumatra (Indonesia). There is no reason to think this one (or the one captured last year) were escaped captives...they are likely itinerants from other areas. They can swim thousands of miles. 

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