VILLAGERS on Malaysia’s biggest island, Pulau Banggi, in Kudat, Sabah, are living in fear of saltwater crocodiles making the island their stomping ground.
Juani Ari, 42, a teacher at SK Sabur, said the crocodiles, possibly from Pulau Balambangan, started coming to the shores of the 440 sq km island three or four years ago.
“A few months back, a safety officer patrolling the shores was bitten and had to be rushed to hospital for treatment.
“The reptile was said to have leapt from the shallow waters and latched on to the unsuspecting officer,” he said, adding that an adult seawater crocodile could measure 4m or 5m long.
Another resident, Julung Dialon, 46, said he was a victim of a crocodile attack, too.
“Those vicious attacks are making people afraid to go out to sea to fish.
“I hope the authorities would resolve the problem immediately before more people get hurt.”
Kudat district officer Sapdin Ibrahim said the authority had informed the Sabah Wildlife Department of the crocodile attacks on the island.
“We have also advised tour operators and guides to take precautions.
“This is to prevent tourists from getting hurt when
they visit or dive near the place.”
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said the department would despatch its personnel to the ground soon to look into the matter.