Crocodiles at Bako National Park not a danger to tourists, says Sarawak minister

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah visits a booth at the Borneo International Beads Conference 2019 in Kuching October 3, 2019. — Bernama pic
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah visits a booth at the Borneo International Beads Conference 2019 in Kuching October 3, 2019. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, Oct 4 — The presence of a large number of crocodiles at Bako National Park does not pose any danger to humans, unless they are nesting or protecting their eggs, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said today.

He said humans have never been attacked by the crocodiles at the park, situated about 37km from Kuching.

“You see the dangers are not from the crocodiles. The worst predators are human beings,” he told reporters after attending a townhall session with tourism industry players here.

“So far, there is no problem in the national park between the crocodiles and human beings.”

Karim said many foreign tourists to Sarawak wish to see crocodiles in their natural habitat.

“Just last week, tourists from Latin America were asking me where they can watch the reptiles, and I should have suggested that they go to Bako National Park,” he said.

Karim said he prefers that the reptiles are allowed to live on their own in their natural habitat rather than kept in captivity.

He also wants boat operators to comply with the safety regulations when they ferry passengers from the Kampung Bako terminal to the national park.

He said overloading of boat with passengers was one of the issues raised at the townhall session.

He said so far, no boat that ferries passengers to the park has ever capsized.

“But we can’t wait for the mishap to occur before we take action,” he said, stating that his ministry may take over from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation to protect the safety of tourists going to Bako.

He said the boat operators should stop trying to squeeze as many passengers as they can onto their vessels, stating that it can cause the boats to capsize.

Karim said Bako National Park, the oldest in the state, is the most popular with foreign tourists.

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