Experts tapped to hunt escaped croc

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/ 20 July)—Experts from the Davao City-based Philippine Crocodile Rescue and Breeding Center (PCRBC) have been tapped to help local rescue workers recapture an eight-feet long crocodile.

It escaped last Saturday from the city’s mini-zoo at Landmark, one of the locality’s tourist destinations.

Psalmer Bernalte, of the Kidapawan City Emergency Response Unit, said the experts from the PCRBC would start hunting the crocodile Friday night, when the reptile is expected to settle down after staying long in the river.

A team of seven crocodile experts has been organized to conduct the search operations.

They have already secured ropes, high-powered flashlights, and other gadgets needed for the hunt.

The team, according to Bernalte, will need the help of soldiers and militiamen to secure them from lawless elements.

Bernalte said that when they recapture the crocodile, it will be housed at the crocodile rescue center at the Amas Complex here until the city government has completed fixing the mini-zoo.

The crocodile escaped by destroying the pen’s cyclone wire last Saturday.

The crocodile, according to PCRBC head Dr. Cayetano Pomares, belongs to the Crocodylus mindorensis species, considered a rare and an endangered species.

The crocodile originated from President Roxas town in North Cotabato.

Pomares has called on the city government to withdraw the reward money.

“The cash incentive could worsen the problem since many would be interested in getting the cash.   This might endanger people,” Bernalte quoted Pomares as saying.

On Monday, City Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco announced he would give cash to those who could help the LGU recapture the crocodile.

Pomares stressed that only experts should handle the hunt in order to protect the animal as well as the villagers from danger.

When in survival mode, crocodiles, even if raised in captivity, could fight back to protect themselves from harm. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)