The Maldives’ climate and geography does not make it the best habitat for crocodiles, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) following an increase in sightings.
Director General Ibrahim Naeem told Minivan News today that it is very unlikely crocodiles will be able to reproduce and populate the country.
“The crocodiles being sighted these days are most likely to have drifted with the currents from nearby countries,” said Naeem.
“If crocodiles were to populate this country, it would have happened thousands of years ago.”
Multiple crocodile sightings have been reported to the authorities in recent days after a 10ft creature was caught last month in Laamu Atoll Kalaidhoo.
The reptiles – which can grow up to 22 feet in length – are usually found in mangrove swamps, rivers, estuaries, deltas, and lagoons. Saltwater crocodiles are known to live in the east coast of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal.
Naeem speculated that all the reported sightings may have been a lone crocodile. He also denied quotes attributed to him in some media outlets suggesting that the Maldives hosts a habitable environment for crocodiles.
“Media should refrain from spreading false information which might incite fear in the hearts of the people living in the islands,” said Naeem.
Meanwhile, Vice President of the Nolhivaram Council Abdulla Shareef told Minivan News that something which is believed to be a dead crocodile carcass has washed up on the island’s shore today.
“We have found a severely decomposed remains of what is believed to be a big 10ft crocodile today,” said Shareef. “We have informed Maldives National Defense Force which is going to examine the carcass before burying it.”
Shareef also said that a crocodile fitting the same description was reported in the nearby Nolhivaramfaru Island two days ago.
Media reported two more crocodile sightings last night alone, with Vaguthu saying that two fishermen made a sighting in Haa Alif – the country’s northernmost atoll, while another was said to have been reported in Addu City – the country’s southernmost.
Yesterday, the MNDF urged the public to refrain from trying to catch crocodiles without assistance from relevant authorities as sightings around the country continue to rise.
“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 a spokesman.
While crocodiles are not native to the Maldives, it is believed that the increased sightings coincide with the beginning of the Iruvai (North Eastern) monsoon.
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