The crocodile will be transported today, November 15, to the PWRCC for management and safekeeping. (Photos from Amrie Sintik)

Wildlife authorities in Palawan have extracted a potentially dangerous 14.8-foot male saltwater crocodile routinely observed lazing on the banks of Sumpaka River in Barangay Pulot Shore in Sofronio Española.

Jovic Fabello, the spokesperson for the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS), told Palawan News on Monday that it was extracted on November 14 to avoid any untoward incident in the Sitio Sumpaka community, citing the Biodiversity Management Bureau’s (BMB) Bulletin No. 2020-02, or the Protocol for Managing Human-Crocodile Conflict (HCC) in the Philippines.

He said that the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) meets the extraction procedure requirements since it is often sighted in close proximity to the barangay proper of Pulot Shore and its population, sightings outside of the egg-laying season, and longer than 10 feet.

“We checked our criteria kung pasok siya for extraction. Na-satisfy naman ang criteria at we decided to extract the said crocodile bago pa may mangyari na untoward human-crocodile conflict,” said Fabello.

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“Preparing na ang team to transport to Puerto[Princesa] sa PWRCC. Maayos din [na] nakipagtulungan ang Brgy. Pulot Shore. Sina barangay kapitan Atika Abirin, mga kagawad, at tanod at team ng MENRO (Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office), grabe ang suporta kaya naisakatuparan ng maayos ang extraction,” he added.

He said the crocodile will be transported today, November 15, to the PWRCC for management and safekeeping.

Rainier Manalo, crocodile researcher and a specialist from Crocodylus Porosus Philippines Incorporated (CPPI), noted in a separate interview that it needed to be extracted since it might be drawn to human presence, especially since it was mostly observed outside their breeding season, which runs from October to February.

“Ang mga buwaya kasi na umaatake [ay] sa labas ng panahon ng pangingitlog nila or egg laying period at pagpisa o ang hatching na mula Oktubre hanggang Pebrero ay malamang na maakit sa mga tao at sa gayon ay dapat isaalang-alang para sa pag-alis sa area, ito po ang nakapaloob sa panglimang criteria,” said Manalo.

“Noong verification ng PWRCC, nakapasok siya sa No. 5 kasi most incident happened that time outside na sa breeding season. Now lang na approve siguro ng PCSDS ang removel,” he added.

Migrated or resident crocodile
Manalo said they have requested the PCSD and the PWRCC to send its “tissue samples” to determine if it is a migrated or resident crocodile.

“Dito natin malalaman kung ang tissue nito ay dayo mula sa ibang lugar o nandiyan lang mismo sa lugar o sa mga karatig munisipyo, iko-compare natin yon sa mga naka store na sa atin na tissues sa CPPI. Nakipag-ugnayan na tayo sa kanila, since hindi pa ata naibibiyahe ang buwaya sa PWRCC,” Manalo also said.

Extraction
Fabello said their team arrived in the municipality on November 9 to trap the crocodile, but it didn’t show up on the Sumpaka riverbanks. The animal only showed itself in the afternoon of November 14.

Fabello said that in August, officials of Pulot Shore wrote to them informing them about the crocodile’s presence, which is already causing fear among residents.

“Sumulat sa amin ang barangay sometime August para ipa-validate ito, nag-conduct kami ng IEC sa Sofronio Española, then nag-validate sa ilog. Madalas na ang sightings ng buwaya at tumatambay na ito sa riverbank,” he said.

“Maganda pa ang river system ng Española. We cannot discount na baka meron pa. But so far, ito din ang buwaya na madalas magpakita sa area,” dagdag niya.

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is the news correspondent for Sofronio Española and Narra, Palawan. He also covers some agriculture stories. His interests are with food and technology.