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The Straits Times
Dec 10, 2022
Warning signs have been put up at West Coast Park after a saltwater crocodile was sighted near it on Thursday.
The National Parks Board (NParks) has also put up advisory notices on what parkgoers should do if they encounter a crocodile.
These came after a member of the public shared a video of the large reptile swimming in the waters off the park. The video was posted on Facebook group Singapore Wildlife Sightings.
Responding to queries from The Straits Times, NParks’ director of wildlife management and outreach How Choon Beng said the animal is likely to be a passing estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), a species that occurs naturally in the wild in Singapore.
Estuarine crocodiles, the largest species among its kind in the world, are known to grow to more than 6m long. They can also be found in tropical Asia and the Pacific. Mr How added: “Transient crocodiles have been occasionally sighted along the south-western coast of Singapore.”
NParks is monitoring the area and will continue to keep a close watch on the situation for public safety, he said.
Mr How said: “Should parkgoers encounter a crocodile, they should stay calm and back away slowly.
“They should not approach, provoke or feed the animal.”
Estuarine crocodiles feed and rest in both brackish and freshwater areas. They are usually found in the water or on mudflats away from visitor routes.
The creatures hunt mainly at night and feed mostly on fish.
Said Mr How: “Crocodiles, like all wildlife, generally do not attack unless they are provoked.”
While estuarine crocodiles are typically found in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, the carnivores have been sighted in other parts of Singapore. In 2021, a 1.53m-long crocodile was spotted by anglers in a canal at East Coast Park and relocated to Sungei Buloh.
In 2019, the authorities caught a 1.7m-long crocodile in Lower Seletar Reservoir and released it elsewhere, days after water and fishing activities were suspended after the animal was sighted in the water.
In 2017, warning signs were put up at Changi Beach Park after a reported sighting of a crocodile in the area.
Those who encounter a crocodile may call NParks on 1800-471-7300 or national water agency PUB on 9632-3261 to report the incident.