Phuket Zoo will be the new home of Lay Pang, a crocodile caught in Phuket province a few months ago, after lab tests showed that the reptile was an “alien species” and could not be released to the wild.
Lay Pang, which has been ruled to belong to Phuket province, will be moved from the National Institute of Coastal Aquaculture Region 5 to the zoo by mid-December or early January next year, Fisheries Department chief Adisorn Promthep said yesterday.
The decision to let the zoo raise Lay Pang was to make it easier for people to see it. The zoo currently houses 200 crocodiles.
Phuket Zoo manager Pichai Sakulsuan said the 30-year-old zoo was ready to take care of Lay Pang and felt honoured to be entrusted to do so by the Fisheries Department and Phuket province.
The zoo has already prepared a 20-metre enclosure for its new arrival.
Earlier yesterday, Asst Prof Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a deputy dean at Kasetsart University’s Fisheries Department, urged people to not put emotions over rationality in relation to the case.
“Many people really hope that Lay Pang will go back to the nature. But we can’t do that. Given that it is originally not a member of the wilderness, it’s considered an alien species,” the lecturer explained.
The results of blood and DNA tests show Lay Pang is of a mixed breed – Crocodolus siamensis and Crocodolus porosus.
“It should be noted that the location where Lay Pang was found is not the place where it could survive,” he said.
Lay Pang was first spotted in a large pond connected to three hotels in Phuket. The pond was a part of an old mine.
“If the crocodile was spotted in a community, not in forest or faraway sea, we have to arrest it for the safety of both people and the reptile,” he said.