Category: Tourism News

Guardians of Muar river estuary

MANY people are known to shiver at the thought of crocodiles in Sungai Muar, here. Some parents at the riverine villages keep a sharp lookout for their children who have been told not to go in the river for a swim.

MUAR: The town’s fishermen, on the other hand, view these crocodiles differently. According to the fishermen, two giant crocodiles have been guarding the estuary of the Muar river “since time immemorial”.

Some even offer prayers and food to these reptiles for keeping their fishing grounds safe.

It is believed that the crocodiles prevent dangerous fish like sharks in the Straits of Malacca from entering the river, thus providing safety to the fishermen, fishing grounds and riverine villagers.

The crocodiles at the mouth of Sungai Muar have been identified as members of the buaya tembaga or estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) family. They are said to be more than 70 years old and are revered as guardians of the river.

Greyish in colour, they are about eight metres in length, and weigh more than one tonne each. The pair can usually be found basking on the mud at the mangrove swamps.

Muar Crocodile Farm proprietor Ng Chon Seng, who owns the only such farm in northern Johor, said crocodiles in the Muar river have been seen and deified by fishermen for many years.

“Even some of those who have not seen the crocodiles believe they are in the river,” said Ng.

“From what I have gathered, the two crocodiles are large and survive on monkeys, other small animals, birds, rodents and fish.”

Ng said the number of crocodiles that existed in Sungai Muar was small, and that they would become “extinct if the government did not set up measures to conserve them”.

Abdul Aziz Samsudin, 71, of Kampong Kesang Laut, who has been a fisherman for 50 years, claimed he had seen the crocodiles only once, about four years ago, at the muddy shore at Kesang. He said they were old and the colour of their skin had turned greyish.

Another fisherman Mohd Amin Abu Bakar, 75, also from Parit Kesang, agreed and said he had seen them twice in his lifetime.

He said the crocodiles did not bother fishermen even when the boats were just metres away from where they rested.

[Courtesy of http://www.nst.com.my/streets/johor/guardians-of-muar-river-estuary-1.155229]

Category: Tourism News