The Mabuwaya Foundation in San Mariano, Isabela has appealed to residents to not harm the crocodiles living in their habitat, known as “reptile sanctuary” in the region, following news of 22 missing crocodiles in the aftermath of floods that hit the area along with Cagayan province last month.
Marites Gatan-Balbas, Mabuwaya Foundation chief operating officer, aired the appeal as people pose a threat to the reptiles.
“The people do pose a threat to the crocodiles. It is our fear that crocodiles are being killed,” Balbas said.
Balbas’ fear came at a time when out of 32 crocodiles living in the sanctuary, only 10 were left when floods hit the province last December.
She said that the reptiles often stay in upland rivers and creeks on the edge of the northern Sierra Madre where there is enough food and less disturbance by the people.
But crocodiles are washed downstream by the strong current in rivers and to places where there are likely more people during floods.
“They will move back upstream by themselves, but there is a risk that people will kill them,” Balbas said.
San Mariano municipal government and communities located near crocodile breeding grounds and in conserved areas are protecting the reptiles.