THE hunt for a crocodile photographed swimming happily off Phuket’s Lae Pang beach continues today (August 31) after it eluded an all-night search by a special unit which used lights to try to track it down, Thai News Agency said.
A crocodile was also spotted at an old tin mine now turned into a lake within the compound of a hotel yesterday and it is believed to be the same one spotted swimming off Lae Pang beach and might also be the same one seen at Mai Khao beach two years ago.
Crocodile experts from Surat Thani province and a crocodile farm were waiting for it to come closer to the lakeside in order to catch it.
Local fishermen said this crocodile is a freshwater one and would have reached the sea from an old tin mine lake because decades ago they had seen crocodiles there. It would have used a canal in Layan area to reach the sea which is a distance of less than three kilometers.
News of this crocodile spread quickly after Phuket News ran a story accompanied by a photo and video which someone had used a drone to take from this beach.
The reptile appears to be around seven-foot long and it dove and disappeared when the drone got close to it.
Phuket Governor Noraphat Plodthong together with Phuket Fisheries Chief Paiboon Bunlippatanon checked both Lae Pang and Bang Tao beaches where the crocodile was spotted and sent up another drone to search for it yesterday.
The governor also publicized the news and warned the tourists plus sent officials to watch the beaches but the tourists did not seem to be bothered because they were still enjoying themselves on these two beaches as usual yesterday.
Mr Paiboon said this is a freshwater crocodile and could have come from an old tin mine lake of which there are three to four in Thalang district.
It is not from a crocodile farm because there are none in Phuket with the last two having shut down last year.
However freshwater crocodiles cannot be in the sea for more than three days so tourists need not panic, he added.
Top: An image of a crocodile seen swimming merrily off Lae Pang beach. Photo: Thai News Agency
Inset: Phuket Governor Noraphat Plodthong talking to the press. Photo: Thai News Agency