Vets still bamboozled about croc’s species
A team of veterinarians yesterday collected DNA samples from a male crocodile, caught swimming close to a beach in Phuket last week, to determine whether the reptile is a saltwater or freshwater crocodile.
Pinsak Suraswadi, deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), said results of the lab tests on blood and DNA samples taken from the crocodile named “Lae Phang” will be known in about one to three weeks.
The DNA sample collection was jointly carried out by vets and officials from the DNP, the Department of Fisheries (DOF), Mahidol University’s crocodile research centre and Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Fisheries.
They also measured its length and other physical details.
Surat Thani-based crocodile experts were on hand to help pin down the croc during the examination to prevent injuries to the reptile.
Mr Pinsak said the lab test will prove what species the crocodile belongs to.
Meanwhile, Thon Thamrong-nawasawat, associate dean of the KU’s Fisheries Faculty, said if the animal was a saltwater crocodile, it must be released back into the wild.
However, if it was a crossbreed, it should be placed in captivity, he said.
Officials will discuss where in Phuket the crocodile will be released or placed, depending on the outcome of the DNA test.
The DOF is to relocate the crocodile to a larger pond pending the test results, according to Mr Thon.
The crocodile was captured last Thursday and taken to the Phuket Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Centre in Thalang district as it posed a potential threat to tourists.
As of yesterday, more than 13,000 netizens had signed an online petition on the change.org website, calling for the reptile to be released back into the wild as it looked “depressed” and may have lost its appetite after being confined to a pond at the centre.
Mr Thon suggested a detailed survey be launched to see if any saltwater crocs, believed to be extinct in Thailand for many years, were still living in the wild.
If Lae Phang is a wild saltwater crocodile, he said it would provide valuable information for the study.
A man complains to the Consumer Protection Police Division after buying lodging vouchers but being denied a stay at a Hua Hin resort.