Khao Yai's infamous crocodile

5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 1 month ago #782 by Paul T

Crocodile.

Driving up to Khao Yai early Friday morning in my old jalopy was the usual game of risk and caution. One of keeping out of the way of warp speed mini buses and concentrating on the intra lane meanderings of lorry drivers on Thanyaburi's unmarked traffic lanes. Its a journey I start in the early morning darkness from Bangkok, escaping before the city wakes. Morning light broke close to Nakorn Nayok and it was not a good sign. There was heavy cloud blanketing the eastern skies.


 

I had been planning a day of silently waiting in a blind at one of my favourite spots on the headwaters of the Nakorn Nayok River but needed good strong sunlight for the lens I needed to use to function adequately. What to do? Should I spend a day just watching the river sans camera?

I remembered that Jonathan F. had mentioned to me a week or so earlier that he had seen the National Park's staff shutting down the Pha Kluay Mai/Heaw Suwat trail whilst they attempted to locate the infamous crocodile that is found in the river there. The DNP has decided to capture the crocodile, not a very simple task I am sure, in order to relocate it to another more suitable spot. There have been several instances of tourists trying to interfere with the beast, throwing stones at it and generally antagonizing it. And the DNP believe that something unsavory will happen sooner or later be it to man or to beast. So it has been decided relocation is the best solution, taking into account the animal is believed to have been released into the area by a member of the public rather than being "natural".

 

So there I was driving along with my original destination scuppered and a conversation regarding a crocodile in my mind. An infamous crocodile that so many people have seen but I have not, ever.  A crocodile that may soon be relocated elsewhere but for the moment on an easily accessible trail and, hopefully, a good chance of spotting it. My destination decision was made and I motored up the Heaw Suwat car park for a mornings gentle stroll on the Pha Kluay Mai/Heaw Suwat trail. And there he/she was....

 

 

The infamous remaining crocodile of Khao Yai National Park. 

 Ceratomantis saussurii Horned mantis or spiny mantis.

The Crocodile in Khao Yai National Park is still of unknown species, probably a hybrid.

 

 Ceratomantis saussurii Horned mantis or spiny mantis.

On the move in Khao Yai National Park, it was extremely well camoflagued in the water and resembled a log.

 {kunena_discuss:770}

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5 years 2 months ago #783 by jonathanbkk
amazing that with 2 days of closed trail, 2 divers and about 8 other people they could not catch either of the two crocs in that area

wonder what the next plan is?

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5 years 2 months ago #794 by Paul T
2? Shows how little I know, maybe I will go back to see if I can get the other as well ;+)

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5 years 2 months ago #834 by onflipflops
It remains unclear what they are planning with the resident croc. Even though some say there should be 2 large crocs, I've never seen them both. I walk the trail often, and 90% of the time see one.

On 21 FEB 2013 we got to see a 'new' croc. I could only see its head, because it was hiding under a rock just a couple meters from the Haew Suwat waterfall. According to the local rangers it was sighted for the first time just a day or 2 before we got there. It was definitely not longer than 1 meter. This month we've heard the rumour that the staff has caught the small one. But not sure if it's true. For some reason they don't like to give away any information. Even on the days that they had closed the trail, the rangers were instructed to tell the tourists that there were elephants fighting along the trail.

At the moment a big net is spread just a few meters from one of the crocs favorite basking spots, a large log across the river. The croc still seems to be able to pass the net and move up and down the river. Dholes had made a kill (Sambar deer) on 13 MAR 2013 in the crocs territory.

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5 years 2 months ago - 5 years 2 months ago #835 by Paul T
Fascinating, the possible scenarios are mind boggling to say the least.

According to the Thai press the relocation order was issued from DNP HQ, and made specific mention that a reservoir/lake would be used as the host site, but no other details.

There also an interesting article regarding crocodiles (C.siamensis) in the wild in Thailand, in the Nation, with the following excerpt:

Department of National Parks..... said yesterday that the crocodile conservation and release-to-nature project in a venture by his office, the Department of Fisheries, crocodile-breeding businesses and Mahidol University had improved the situation from near extinction since 2005. There were now 200 crocodiles in the wild. In the second phase, they would assess habitats, especially Kaeng Krajan National Park's Phetchaburi River, to release Thai crocodiles, which would also be tagged with radio devices to study behaviour and survival rate in the next eight months to one year.................. the second phase comprised habitat study, genetic identification of the fresh-water crocodile, research on key infectious diseases in crocodiles, community participation promotion and releasing crocodiles into nature.

I was surprised the estimate was 200 in the wild - I had no idea there were that many known.

The full article can be read by clicking here

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