MLANG, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) provincial office in Kidapawan City has called on the local government here to turn over the freshwater crocodile that was accidentally trapped by a group of fishermen near the Liguasan Marsh on Saturdayafternoon.
Fatima Magulama, DENR chief of protected area and wildlife, said if the local government wanted to take care of the eight-foot beast, it should have a facility that could accommodate the animal.
Magulama also told the local government of Mlang to write a letter to the Protected Area Wildlife Coastal Zone Section (PAWCZS) reiterating its intention to take custody of the crocodile. She, however, added that if the reptile was not injured, it should be returned to its natural habitat.
Mayor Joselito Piñol said the local government has taken temporary custody of the animal while waiting for the experts from the DENR to check its condition.
“If the beast is healthy, then there is no reason for not returning it to the wild,” Piñol said.
The crocodile was temporarily placed in the municipal nursery and has been placed under observation.
The crocodile was trapped in a fishnet set up by fishermen, who earlier demanded P40,000 in exchange for the reptile.
Piñol said they did not pay to get hold of the crocodile.
The Municipal Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) team was sent to the place where the crocodile was captured to orient residents on laws governing the handling of wildlife.
“I believe there are plenty of crocodiles in the area that is why we want to preserve it,” Mayor Pinol said.