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PHUKET’S BEACH-TOURING CROC: The female crocodile caught offshore from Layan Beach, on Phuket’s west coast, in July remains held at the marine life research centre in Thalang, now more than a month after experts confirmed that the reptile is a saltwater species.

The crocodile gained attention after first being spotted at Yanui Beach, at the southern end of the island, and then eluding capture for 11 days as it toured the beaches along Phuket’s west coast, including the tourist-popular Kata and Karon beaches, and was even spotted just south of Patong.

The amphibian was finally snared in nets by the ‘Kraithong Lumnamtapi’ team of experts from the Department of Fisheries in Surat Thani, brought to Phuket especially to catch the reptile, at about 5:30am on July 29. (See story here.)

The crocodile, measuring about 2.3 metres long and weighing about 150 kilograms, now awaits a decision by Department of Fisheries officials in Bangkok as to where she will go next.

Of note, the male mixed-species crocodile ‘Leypang’ caught at Leypang Beach, right next to Layan and Bang Tao Beaches, in September last year is now kept at Phuket Zoo.

“The crocodile is still being kept at the marine life research centre at Baan Laem Sai in Mai Khao under the care of the Phuket Fisheries office,” Phuket Fisheries Chief Kowit Kao-ian confirmed to The Phuket News yesterday (Nov 6).

“She is fine, and still eating chicken as usual,” he added.

“The Phuket Fisheries office is still waiting for an order from our central office before we can release her. They are thinking about where is the most appropriate place that the crocodile should go to stay,” Chief Kowit explained.

Chief Kowit also noted that he understood that the process of deciding what is to be done with the crocodile appears to be taking a long time.

“I cannot tell you when we will know, but I am trying to speed them up because the marine life research centre also needs to use the place where the crocodile is being kept for caring for other marine life,” he said.

“For me, I would like to move her as fast as possible to the proper place, but I have to wait for the order from our head office,” he said.

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