There’s a reason for the frequent crocodile sightings these days around Balabac. According to a local expert, it is around this time that the crocodiles are out in the wild since the annual breeding season had just concluded.
Rainier Manalo, a researcher at Crocodylus Porosus Philippines, Inc. (CPPI) told Palawan News in an interview that more crocodile sightings can be expected till around December since this is the period when they go out with their hatchlings to prepare for their “courtship period” in the coming January.
In the crocodile cycle, he explained that the months of August and September are when their eggs have hatched and they start to go out of the mounds they have made or where they are sheltering in place.
“August kasi to first week of September, pisa na ang eggs nila at lalabas na sila niyan kasama ang mga babies nila kaya maraming sighting sa Balabac ang naitatala. Minsan may crocodile attack pa,” he said.
“This month of October, sunod-sunod ang sightings diyan dahil nga wala na sila sa mga pinangingitlogan nila, pisa na, at wala na silang babantayan at lalabas na sila. Then sa January courting period nanaman ‘yan” Manalo said.
This month, two sightings of the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) have already been recorded in Balabac in Barangay Poblacion VI on October 15 and another on October 22.
Manalo said possible attacks may also happen while the male crocodiles are looking for their mates.
On October 25, a crocodile attack was recorded in the town involving fisherman Jomarie Diaz who was gathering nipa fronds in a river in Salang. He survived the attack after fighting off the crocodile.
Balabac Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) chief Mitra Tanjilani, meanwhile, reminded residents to keep themselves safe from crocodile attacks by being vigilant when in rivers or collecting shells or fishing near the shores.
He said residents should be mindful of signages in areas where there are high crocodile presence.
“May mga crocodile signages naman tayo sa mga barangay at hanggang ngayon panawagan natin yan sa kanila na kung maaari huwag lumusong sa mga ilog lalo na sa gabi,” Tanjilani said Tuesday.