El Nino, grassfire force ‘Silangan’ the crocodile out of its habitat

El Nino, grassfire force ‘Silangan’ the crocodile out of its habitat

17 April 2016

published by www.mindanews.com

Philippines– Rising temperature, grassfire and destruction of its natural habitat have forced freshwater crocodiles to wander to areas inhabited by humans.

An 8-feet long, 80-kilo crocodile (Crocodylus Mindorensis) was captured by fisherfolk led by Mamangkas Mamatong, in Barangay Kuyapon, Kabacan, North Cotabato Monday last week.

Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the University of Southern Mindanao named the crocodile “Silangan” since it was captured on the eastern side of the 200,000 hectare marshland.

Mamatong said he was shocked to see the huge reptile trapped inside the indigenous fish trap they installed at the marsh.

He then alerted his relatives and villagers and jointly they seized the crocodile, which initially tried to resist captivity.

It took them days to report to authorities as Mamatong and villagers thought at first of making money out of the catch by selling it to anyone interested but they were told it would be illegal to capture and sell crocodiles, a critically endangered species.

Mamatong and other freshwater fisherfolk said life has become very difficult due to the drought.

Crocodile researchers of the state-run University of Southern Mindanao here and DENR-12 decided to take possession of the reptile which it immediately brought to the Crocodile Rescue and Breeding Area in the North Cotabato provincial capitol grounds in Amas, Kidapawan City.

The crocodile sustained injuries during its captivity by fisherfolk who used traditional means to overpower a huge animal.

Dr. Cayetano Pomares of USM-Kabacan who has a preservation program, studies and research of critically endangered Ligawasan Marsh crocodiles said the crocodile population has dwindled.

“There around a hundred to two hundred… since the breeding pace is so slow, according to our study,” he said.

Pomares said the captured crocodile was among the remaining reptiles in Ligawasan Marsh.

What triggered the crocodiles to come out was blamed on the “on and off” grassfire in the dried up portion of the marsh, forcing the reptiles to migrate to other areas where food is available, he said.

“Humans catch fish from the marshland and fish species in the marsh are also the crocodile’s favorite food,” Pomares explained.

Citing climate change, Pomares said there is “some sort of a tug of war between reptiles and humans for food, in this case the fresh water fish.”

He attributed the migration of crocodiles outside of its natural habitat to rising water temperature and receding water in the marshland.

Forester Michael Bao of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources also agreed climate change was a major factor that forced reptiles to migrate.

“That is why we appeal to fisherfolk and those living near the marshland not to capture or harm the crocodile,” he said.

“Help protect our wildlife so our next generation could still see this kind of animals in future,” he added.

Pomares said further study will be conducted on the captured reptile for research purposes or possibility for propagation before it will be released back to the wild.

Two years ago, a huge crocodile was captured in M’lang, North Cotabato but Mayor Lito Pinol in coordination with the local DENR office, ordered the return of the reptile back to its natural habitat.
 Students at Mississippi State University successfully tested a new chemical that could potentially stop wildfires from ruining homes on Saturday.

Anna Barker came up with the idea after she saw news footage of a man trying to save his house with a garden hose.



“So we just created a system that would release this polymer in an event of a wildfire, and hopefully protect any kind of residential property if a wildfire were coming through,” she said.


Barker met with several engineers about the idea, and chose to partner with Kagen Crawford on the project.


“Engineers and business partners coincide in the real world,” Crawford said. “So this really brings the university feel of every major being separated to the real world of every major works together to make something happen.”


The team created a sprinkler system to go on a dog house. Then, the chemical was sprayed onto the house. They used a blowtorch on the wood, and the house did not catch on fire.

“We’re super excited it didn’t catch fire and that we think it’s actually going to work,” Barker said.


A diluted version of the chemical was used during the test. The actual polymer will be three times as strong.


If the chemical does become a household item, homeowners won’t have to worry about it hurting the environment or themselves.


“It is nontoxic, noncorrosive, and biodegradable. It is OCEA and EPA approved and the only fire polymer substance to ever be approved by the U.S. Forestry Service,” Barker said.


The Starkville Fire Department watched over the trial run. The team thanked the city for letting them use their services.


Graphic Design major McKinley Ranager is also helping the team with promotions.


They also demonstrated the chemical’s ability in other ways throughout the day. They soaked their arms with the substance and attempted to light it on fire. They also soaked one piece of cardboard with it. Then, lit that piece and another on fire. Only the cardboard without the substance burned.

Barker has had this idea for around a year. Between research and development, the engineering department, the chemistry department, and other supporters, the polymer is now ready for testing. She credits them for helping her idea come to life.

“We were a little nervous,” Barker said. “Working with student grant funding and doing everything small scale, you’re a little bit nervous on if this tiny prototype can really pertray what a large scale system would be like.”

– See more at: http://www.wtva.com/news/MSU_students_work_to_stop_wildfire_home_destruction.html#sthash.WOoq008f.dpuf

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