KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 16 — A worker at a private institution of higher learning (IPTS), near Bukit Tunggal in Kuala Nerus, Terengganu discovered a baby crocodile while cleaning a drain, but immediately released it into a nearby river.

General worker Ahmad Ismail Salleh, 33, said while cleaning a drain in the IPTS last Sunday (Jan 9), he found an “object” which he thought was a child’s toy.

“However, it moved when I poked it with a twig. At first, I thought it was a monitor lizard but on closer inspection, it turned out to be a baby crocodile.

“I immediately informed an assistant officer regarding the find which measured approximately 28 to 30 centimetres in length,” he said when contacted by Bernama, today.

Ahmad Ismail said he did not report the discovery to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) because the baby crocodile had been returned to its original habitat and besides, he was worried the mother would come looking for it.

Meanwhile, Terengganu Perhilitan director Loo Kean Seong encouraged the public to report immediately to Perhilitan if they find wild animals to facilitate the department to take appropriate action.

He said this particular hatchling is believed to be of the saltwater crocodile species.

In 2016, a one-metre-long saltwater crocodile, nicknamed Mamat, was spotted in an abandoned mine by residents of Kuala Nerus.

As it was not aggressive, many people came to see it closely as well as feed it until it grew bigger.

In June last year, Perhilitan caught Mamat and had it transferred to the Paya Indah Wetlands in Dengkil, Selangor. — Bernama