Large crocodile seen off Phuket beach

A close watch is being kept for this three-metre crocodile spotted recently off Bang Tao beach, Thalang district, Phuket. (Photo taken from marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat Facebook page via Phuket Gazette online newspaper)

PHUKET- A close watch is being kept for a 3-metre-long crocodile spotted recently off Bang Tao beach in Thalang district of this resort province.

Phuket governor Noraphat Plodthong on Wednesday led senior officials to inspect Lae Pang and Bang Tao beaches in Thalang district after a video of a large crocodile swimming in the sea there went viral online.

Mr Noraphat said he had earlier instructed the Phuket fisheries office, the Thalang district office and local leaders to follow up  reports of a crocodile had been seen in Phuket waters, to see if it was true

“The Thalang district chief met the person who first spotted and took photos of the crocodile. There are witnesses and still photos and also video footage of the crocodile,’’ said the governor.

A watch was being kept for the reptile and a team was on standby to recapture it, Mr Noraphat said.

Lifeguards from district authorities and hotels were stationed at all beaches in Phuket to ensure the safety of tourists, the governor said. However, people should be careful when swimming at beaches at this time.

Thalang district chief Vikrom Jakthee said a Thai tourist had first spotted the crocodile in the sea between Lae Pang and Bang Tao beaches in Thalang district and used a mobile phone to take photos of it on Aug 25. 

The photos were not sharp, but a foreign tourist holidaying in the area at the time use a drone with a video  camera to take the aerial shots that went viral on social media on Tuesday, the district chief said.

Paiboon Boonliptanont, chief of the Phuket fisheries office, said crocodiles were  not normally aggressive unless attacked first. There was a slim chance it would attack someone.

He advised any fishermen or tourists who come across it to keep out if its way and immediately alert the authorities.

Mr Paiboon believed the reptile escaped from a freshwater crocodile farm and would not stay long in a saltwater habitat. It would probably reappear in 2-3 days as it would move to another place more suited to its survival.

Marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat said on his on his Facebook page that authorities should check crocodile farms in nearby areas or provinces to see if any of their animals were on the loose.

Phuket governor Noraphat Plodthong leads senior officials to Lae Pang and Bang Tao beaches in Thalang district, after a large crocodile was spotted there. (Photo by Achadtaya Chuenniran)

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