Swimmers have been banned on all beaches in Phuket while the crocodile-hunting operation for a missing animal is still ongoing.
Phuket is also preparing to announce urgent registration measures in order to keep track of all known crocodiles in the area, in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.
Governor Norraphat Plodthong said on Tuesday: “We are preparing to announce registration for all crocodiles in Phuket. Anyone who has a crocodile must register the reptile, or else they will be offending under Section 49 of the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.
“Any person possessing protected wildlife acquired by breeding or a carcass of protected wildlife acquired by breeding without permission, under Section 19, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding Bt10,000, or both.
“We have checked all five crocodile farms in Phuket [for information about the missing crocodile]. No crocodile has been lost from those farms. We will have a better idea where the crocodile is from when we catch it.
“The best guess from everyone who has seen the crocodile, is that it’s about 1.5 metres long. It is not a big crocodile and not as fierce or dangerous as larger ones. As this crocodile is not from a crocodile farm, it might be from unregistered sources, from an area around Phang Nga Bay, or someone might have released it.”
“Swimmers have been banned on every beach until the crocodile is caught. Anyone with any information about the crocodile, or if they’ve seen it, please call (092) 246 8366 or (081) 867 3664, for 24-hour service,” the governor added.
Phuket’s elusive west-coast crocodile was last seen on Monday night at Tri Trang Beach.
Today, crocodile hunters have been focusing their attention around the waters of Paradise Beach and Patong Beach, where the crocodile is believed to be heading.