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Thursday, 10 February, 2000, 13:48 GMT
Malaysia plans crack croc squad

Crocodile Estuarine crocodiles have a fierce reputation


Malaysian firemen may have to be trained in the art of hunting killer crocodiles after a spate of recent attacks.


It will not be long before the department is roped in for killer crocodile operations
Datuk Jaafar Sidek Tambi
The Director General of fire and rescue services, Datuk Jaafar Sidek Tambi, said the move was being considered after a series of incidents in the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

"We have been requested to track poisonous snakes before and it will not be long before the department is roped in for killer crocodile operations", he said.

A number of firemen have already received training in the catching and handling of poisonous snakes at the service's main academy.

Croc facts
Most crocodiles in Malaysia are Estuarine or Saltwater crocodiles
They were once common but have been hunted for their skins almost to extinction
Estuarine crocodiles have been known to grow to more than eight metres long
Datuk Jafaar said the fire services had recently been approached to help evict a crocodile from a school in the state of Kedah following severe flooding.

"We have no experience in this but since we were summoned we had to make the best of the situation" he said.

"We have yet to set up a special crocodile-hunting squad although we already have waterborne rescue teams."

Guilty animal

The announcement follows reports in Malaysian newspapers earlier this week that a 5.5-metre crocodile suspected of killing a 10-year old girl had mysteriously surrendered itself to the victim's father and died in front of him.

The attack took place last month in Sarawak in Malaysian north Borneo.

"The crocodile went up to the same spot where he killed my daughter and died," the girl's father told the Malaysian New Straits Times.

"He knew he was guilty and surrendered himself."

The girl's father told the newspaper that the reptile appeared to have obeyed instructions from local witch doctors, known as bomohs.

They had been assigned to track down the creature after police and forestry officials had failed to trace it.
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See also:
05 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Crocodile influx threatens Australia
05 Jan 00 |  Africa
Protected crocodiles eat Malawians

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