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Researchers have established a link between the “aggressive” saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) of Balabac municipality and Malaysia.

Rainier Manalo, program head of Crocodylus Porosus Philippines Incorporated (CPPI), on Thursday said that their preliminary samples confirmed migration of saltwater crocodiles coming from southern Palawan’s neighboring country Malaysia.

“The indigenous crocodile community was increasing in Borneo. We wanted to find out bakit dumadami din sa Balabac. The preliminary samples confirmed that these crocodiles belong to one cluster,” he said.

Balabac municipality gained traction over several crocodile attacks that happened in 2019, prompting researchers to investigate on the escalating human conflict issue.

“Philippine saltwater crocodile is one of the most aggressive species and usually nagkakaroon ng [human] conflict pag nadi-disturb ‘yong habitat nila,” he added.

Initial research findings established Malaysia as the “bridge” for the crocodiles propagating in southern Palawan traveling all the way to Tawi-Tawi.

“Tawi-Tawi dugtong ‘yan sa Malaysia. Palawan and Tawi-Tawi have a relation because they use Malaysia. We’re currently working with researchers and authorities from Sabah, Malaysia para humingi ng tissue samples to further connect-the-dots,” he said.

CPPI in late October 2019 hosted a 3-day training on crocodile conservation and rescue operation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), Philippine National Police (PNP); Maritime Police (MP); Philippine Coast Guard (PCG); Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP); City Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO); and Municipal Police Stations (MPS) from Balabac, Brooke’s Point, San Vicente, and Bataraza to advance the rescue operations in mitigating the human conflict observed in local communities.