Provincial and border police in Banteay Meanchey province caught a crocodile on Wednesday night while on flood patrol along the river, prompting officials to warn people living in flood zones along rivers to be on the lookout for the toothy interlopers. Officials are looking into the species of the crocodile to determine whether it is a Siamese crocodile, considered one of the world’s most endangered reptiles in the wild.
The World Wildlife Fund estimates that only a few hundred remain in the world, mostly in Cambodia. However, they are also investigating rumours that the crocodile is from a nearby crocodile farm that lost about 200 of the animals in the recent floods.
Banteay Meanchey Provincial Police Chief Art Khem said the O’Beichoan commune police and Unit 11 border police saw the 20-kilogram crocodile sitting on the grass near a lake in Brasat village in O’Chrou district. “The presence of this crocodile is enough to alert people living in flooded areas and along the river to be more careful,” Khem said.
Banteay Meanchey Provincial Fisheries Administration official Lonh Vuthy said finding a Siamese crocodile “would be great, but if it is the type raised for commercial purposes, we will search for its source”. The heavy rains that have caused flooding in Banteay Meanchey and many other provinces are expected to continue until October 10.