The head of operations of East Nusa Tenggaras Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Danang Suryana, said here on Tuesday that crocodiles inhabiting the estuary, which is drying up due to the weather phenomenon, are moving to find a better place to survive.
The cold-blooded reptiles have been seen roaming in several beaches, such as Lasiana and Nunsui in Kupang, causing havoc at among the people at local tourism destinations.
Several crocodiles were also seen lying sunbathing at the beaches, with tourists mighty worried due to their presence.
The local authorities have taken several measures to counter the crocodiles roaming about but find themselves overwhelmed.
"We have been capturing the crocodiles manually (without any sophisticated devices), and have also been advising the visiting tourists to remain vigilant as crocodiles have been roaming at the beach," Suryana added.
Official records showed that from 2011-2016, 34 casualties have been attributed to crocodile attacks at Nunsui and Lasiana beaches in Kupang.
"This year alone, between January and July, nine people died after they were attacked by crocodiles at the beaches," Suryana narrated.
Suryana pointed out that some crocodiles could still be seen roaming around at Nunsui and Lasiana beaches.
On July 25, the authority tried to capture a large estuarine crocodile which was sunbathing at Lasiana beach.
However, they failed as the crocodile made for the sea while the reinforcement boat arrived late.
Recently, in early August, the local administration had come up with a unique local competition to catch the giant reptiles.
Individuals or teams were invited to capture the crocodiles and a five million rupiah (roughly US$380) cash prize announced for each reptile caught alive.
(Reporting by Hironimus Bifel/Uu.A059/INE/KR-BSR/B003)