Comprehensive solution needed to mitigate human-crocodile conflict — Penguang

Alfred (left), Jack (second right) and Alexander unveiling the crocodile-warning signage at the gathering.

By Jaythaleela K

MIRI, March 22: A comprehensive solution is needed to tackle the human-crocodile conflict following the growing population of the ferocious reptiles in the state, including along Baram River, said Marudi assemblyman Datu Dr Penguang Manggil.

“In Sarawak, crocodiles and humans have been in co-existence for hundreds of years. However, threats from the reptiles to humans has increased in recent times,” he opined.

In 2018, for instance, six cases of crocodile attacks were recorded in the state, with two fatalities.

“The two fatal cases happened in Sungai Bakong and Sungai Tinjar, Baram,” he said at an awareness cum educational programme on the crocodile-human conflict on Thursday at Anthony Hall in Lapok, Tinjar.

His text-of-speech was read out by Beluru District officer Alfred Gelin Ason.

Alfred (centre) flanked by Jack (left) and Alexander at the event.

Penguang cautioned that such incidents must not be taken lightly and that safety approaches should be put in place to avoid conflicts. This is so because river transportation remained crucial in rural areas.

He applauded the Sarawak Forestry Department for organising the programme to enlighten the locals’ knowledge of the issues and dangers at hand.

“Events such as this help convey crucial information on human-crocodile conflict and how they should interact to avoid untoward incidents,” he said.

Among those present at the gathering were Sarawak Forest Department deputy director Jack Liam, Miri Forestry Department regional officer Alexander Anthony Banyan and 120 longhouses dwellers who reside along Sungai Tinjar and Sungai Bakong.

The 38km Sungai Bakong is known as one of the most crocodile-infested rivers in the Northern region, with an estimated 550 crocodiles along the stretch.

Sungai Bakong is among 10 crocodile-infested rivers in the state. Others are Batang Sadong, Sungai Tuang, Batang Kerian, Sungai Seblak, Sungai Linga, Sungai Sebuyau, Batang Lupar, Batang Saribas and Batang Baram. — DayakDaily