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Elderly lady dies in crocodile attack in southern Palawan town

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A dead saltwater crocodile was found floating along the shoreline of Sitio Gunob, Barangay Inogbong in the Palawan.
DEAD CROC. A dead saltwater crocodile was found floating along the shoreline of Sitio Gunob, Barangay Inogbong in the town of Bataraza, southern Palawan on July 6, 2023. The town's freshwater rivers are also a breeding ground for these large predators. (Photo courtesy of MDRRMO/PIS – Bataraza)
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan – The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) has called on residents of river communities here to be ever-watchful of the presence of crocodiles near river banks to avoid further attacks.
The warning came on Thursday after the PCSDS confirmed that a senior citizen was attacked and killed by a crocodile in Barangay Malitub in this province's most southernmost town of Bataraza.
In an interview, PCSDS spokesperson Jovic Fabello said the attack on 60-year-old Monelba Sariol was the fourth crocodile-related death recorded by his office in recent memory.
An investigation report by the Bataraza Municipal Police Station released on June 6 showed that the woman was last seen alive at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday (June 5) morning doing her laundry by the river bank.
At around 11 a.m., a neighbor supposedly witnessed a large crocodile carrying the apparently lifeless body of Sariol down the river.
Sariol's remains were recovered two hours later about one kilometer down the river from where the attack took place.
Fabello explained that there are four possible reasons why crocodiles attack – hunting for food, defending their territory, defending their nest, and mistaken identity.
"The crocodile breeding season typically spans from March to September. However, among these factors, it's likely that the crocodile attack in Malitub occurred due to the animal defending its territory or mistaken identity," he said, noting that crocodiles are stealthy ambush predators, making it possible that the victim did not detect its presence.
Fabello disclosed that on May 25 this year, 18-year-old Normelito Siplan was also attacked by a crocodile while wading the shallow waters in Barangay Sapa, also in the municipality of Bataraza.
He was last seen pulling a small boat down a shallow part of the river with a rope tied around his waist when he suddenly vanished, according to witnesses interviewed by the PCSDS.
"We reiterate our call for residents in Bataraza, as well as in (nearby) Balabac, to be vigilant to save themselves from attacks. As much as possible, avoid going to the rivers during the crocodile breeding season to prevent attacks," he added.
Fabello said they continue to raise awareness among locals in the two municipalities about the presence of crocodiles and the necessary safety measures. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2024-Jun-07 17.00.00 UTC+0800