Rise in croc population sparks safety concerns

|     Fizah HAB     |

CROCODILES are becoming a common sight in the Brunei River, said Dayangku Kemariah binti Pengiran Duraman in a recent interview with the Weekend Bulletin.

“It is becoming a cause for concern, especially to the residents of Kampong Ayer and the public, when crocodiles as big as four metres long are seen feeding on carcasses at the riverbanks in the Damuan area, the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Silver Jubilee Park in Kiulap and the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) jetty,” said the owner of the Kunyit 7 Lodge homestay in Kampong Ayer.

“Of course, tourists and local wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy being able to witness nature at close range, but with the crocodiles getting bolder, it is worrying for young children and boat drivers.

“More awareness on the rising crocodile population is also needed. Warning signs should be posted, especially around the Brunei River, to notify parents about the dangers of letting children play in the river, as well as late-night fishermen.”

Local boat drivers have also voiced their concerns about the increased sightings of crocodiles the Brunei River, especially during low tide.

“It is alarming as a large adult crocodile is capable of flipping a boat and causing an accident,” said one of the boat operators in the capital. He added that the reptiles are known to lurk close by their boats, which means that boat operators have to be on the alert while navigating the waters, to avoid accidents.