M'LANG, North Cotabato, May 7 (PNA) –- The two Moro fishermen who captured a large Philippine crocodile were given employment by the local government unit of M'lang, North Cotabato, officials said Wednesday.
Mayor Joselito Pinol of M'lang said Mao Mohalidden and Oman Bojo, who captured the crocodile on April 12, turned it over to the local government unit, which in turn sent back the crocodile to its natural habitat the next day.
”This is a reward of some sort but their familiarity with the marshland made them effective environment law implementers,” Pinol said of Mohalidden and Bojo who were employed as M'lang environment enforcement officers.
Pinol said the salaries of two fishermen will be taken from the town’s general fund.
He said the two captured the Philippine freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus Mindorensis) on April 12 while catching catfish and mud fish in Barangay Dungguan which sits beside the vast marshland.
Pinol said unaware of existing laws, the fishermen at first were reluctant to hand over the crocodile to authorities and even demanded finders’ fee which was rejected by the LGU.
After telling them that a law exists penalizing captors of endangered species, both Mohalidden and Bojo agreed to hand over the reptile.
Pinol repeatedly said that when the LGU took custody of the crocodile the local government had no plan of making it a tourist attraction or make money out of it.
”We took care of the crocodile so it will be safe and once regained its strength, it will be returned to the wild,” Pinol said.
On May 2, Malang was brought back to the 220,000-hectare marshland after it regained its good health.
Pinol said the two Moro fishermen can continue fishing while protecting the endangered species in the marshland. (PNA)