The park is the third largest in Thailand. It covers an area of 300 square kilometers, including tropical seasonal forests and grasslands. Its altitude mostly ranges from 400–1,000 m above sea level. There are 3,000 species of plants, 320 species of birds, and 67 species of mammals, recording in this, Thailand's most famous National Park.
I suppose most of you have read the news already, but anyway, I thought I'd share it here for those who have missed it.
We all know about the lonely, unofficially introduced crocodile in Khao Yai national park.
Over the New Year holiday a French couple decided to hike the trail between Haew Suwat waterfall and Pha Kluay Mai camp ground and they happened to see the crocodile basking along the river. Apparently they wanted to make some pics with the croc in the background. The lady had been sitting in a kneeled down position near the croc, and when she wanted to get back up, she lost her balance and that triggered the crocodile to bite her, at least so the story goes.
Obviously she was way to close if she was within biting range, but I guess a basking crocodile, lying still for long periods of time, did not seem dangerous in her mind. I guess she was not prepared for the explosive speed/ power these creatures have.
I got to see a picture from the bite wound, taken by one of the park rangers, and in the big gab of the wound her thigh bone was clearly visible... ouch!
The only time I have seen some form of defensive behaviour of this croc was in February 2016. A rather unusual incident. We were watching the crocodile that was swimming very calmly in the middle of the river. Then it stopped and slowly turned to look our way. It then submerged, and despite the water not being all that clear we could see it was swimming in a straight line towards us under water. Next thing it jumped out of the water vertically, but only a bit more than its head came above water, and it snapped its jaws which was clearly audible. And then it left again in the water.
I have seen this individual a LOT of times, but was a tad surprised about this response which we somehow provoked just by looking at him from a distance. Even though I found this unexpecting behaviour, him swimming under water straight to us was clear enough to know that it was after something, so we were more or less prepared for it to make the jump.
The park chief and the head of the DNP have commented correctly that there are clear signs in English and Thai warning for the croc. There is nothing more they could have done, and I hope it will not trigger any significant measures. In one article it said that perhaps there will be some more rangers around that area for surveillance. But I guess that is only for a short period till the news fades, and most likely only in busy weekends.
Anyway, next time you consider taking a croc selfie, think twice ;-)
That's interesting. I have only been to see it once - about 4 or 5 years ago when they were trying to net it to move it somewhere else. It definitely stalked me on that occasion, it submerged and came up about 5 times, each time closer. I had followed it moving up river to a point where I was down at river level trying to get a low shot but enough was enough - made me feel very uncomfortable..........
INteresting about your experience. In this one case where it snapped at us, we did a similar thing, it was swimming so we followed it. even though at a distance on the trail. But maybe the stalking is giving it the creeps, haha. Still this has been the only time in all the years that I have walked the trail (which I have walked very often!) that it showed this defensive behaviour.
There has been no proof of two crocs for quite many years. Rumours say the locals outside the park have caught one of the two that had apparently left the park by following the river downstream till it left the park... Not sure how true.
A small sized one was released couple years back right at the Haew Suwat falls, but this one was removed shortly after it was found.
I have walked that trail a LOT of times, and have seen the croc on most of these walks, but dare to say that there is no second specimen in that stretch of river. Also all the photos proof it is always the same specimen.
Last record of there being two specimens is quite some years ago.
I have no strong preferance on this matter and can see a reason for either letting it be or for relocating it.
It's maybe on that specific spot to be considered 'invasive'. But it is a Thai native species that would naturally have been found not that far from this location. Though I would like to see the DNP to take action for this species in more locations.
What is the use of having just one crocodile?
It surely is a good looking healthy specimen that has no trouble of sustaining itself.
The authorities never shared their findings with the public (maybe because they truly never managed to catch it?).
But from certain characteristics it does appear to be a proper Siamese Croc. So if can be proven with dna that it is not a hybrid, how about moving it to either Pangsida, or to Kaeng Krachan? I do not know if it is a male or female. I know that in KK they find nests with unfertilized eggs, so there seems no male present (?).
If this is a male (maybe it is not...), why not move it there?
Or if the protection in the KY area is better, which it likely is because it is a tourist area so access for poachers will be hard, perhaps move the KK female(s) to KY for a breeding program?
I know there are disadvantages to all these options, but right now you are dealing with two locations that will totally disappear once these specimens die of old age. And there won't be any juveniles if you just let the situation as it is. I am a bit surprised why after the successful reintroduction in Pangsida, that nothing is happening in e.g. KK to do the same. Or is it because the poaching risk is too high? Still there is at least one wild one there holding on to survival.