Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has expressed concern after pictures began circulating on social media depicting a man holding a 3 foot crocodile in his hands.
Haveeru reported that the small crocodile seen in the picture is now kept in a little pond at a house belonging to one of the individuals pictured, who are believed to have found the crocodile on an uninhabited island on Malé Atoll.
“We are going to investigate this case. We urge citizens to inform relevant authorities first if you see any such animals,” Haveeru reported MNDF spokesperson Major Adnan of saying.
With increased crocodile sightings in different regions of the Maldives after a 10 foot specimen was caught in Kalaidhoo Island, the MNDF has previously urged the public to refrain from trying to catch the animals without proper assistance.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said yesterday that the Maldives’ climate and geography does not make it the best habitat for crocodiles.
“The crocodiles being sighted these days are most likely to have drifted with the currents from nearby countries,” said EPA Director General Ibrahim Naeem. “If crocodiles were to populate this country, it would have happened thousands of years ago.”
The Maldives National Defense Force has urged the public to refrain from trying to catch crocodiles without assistance as sightings around the country continue to rise.
MNDF information officer Major Adnan told Avas that as crocodiles are listed as dangerous animals, it is inadvisable to try and catch them without proper assistance, and that such attempts could end in disaster.
“It is important to call the authorities as soon as you see the crocodile. Sometimes, MNDF have been contacted after the crocodile flees an unsuccessful attempt to capture it. It is then very hard to track and find the animal,” said Major Adnan.
Crocodile sightings have been on the rise after a 10 foot specimen was captured in Laamu Kalhaidhoo last month, with Avas reporting that seven crocodile sightings have subsequently been received by authorities – mostly in the north of the country.
While crocodiles are not native to the Maldives, it is believed that the increased crocodile sightings coincide with the beginning of the Iruvai (North Eastern) monsoon.
Officers from the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) are conducting searches for crocodiles near Thaa Atoll Vilufushi after islanders reported sightings of two of the creatures on Thursday.
Officers from the MNDF Central Area on Friday searched the Vilifushi lagoon and nearby uninhabited islands, but there has been no sign of the presence of the amphibians so far.
According to the MNDF website, officers from the Laamu Kahdhoo post will remain on duty in Vilufushi during the operation that is set to continue for a week.
A six-foot crocodile found in Lhaviyani Naifaru on February 1 was the believed to be the second crocodile found in as many months within Maldivian waters.