01 August 2014 2 of 4


TIMOR-LESTE (Lautem Distr.)

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
MALAHARA, CROCS AND COM

We arrived in Malahara and walked down to the lake edge from where we easily spotted several large (3-4 m) Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) cruising off-shore. The people around the lake are fishermen, but local custom forbids the use of boats on the lake, so instead they have to wade out and fish standing waist deep in the water. Given that Lake Ira Lalaro is home to a population of at least 300 crocodiles, fishing would seem to be a hazardous occupation. Crocodile attacks are frequent and often fatal, one of our guides from a previous visit to the area being recently taken whilst fishing in the lake.

On this visit we noticed a number of rafts on the lake so maybe at least the people are finally placing safety above tradition on their quest for fish.

A spirit house at Malahara with Lake Ira Lalaro in the background
Fishermen standing waist-deep in the lake 3-4 m Saltwater crocodile, Crocodylus porosus,
off-shore at Malahara

From Malahara we drove back to Lospalos, loaded the vehicles and I nursed my troopie the 30+ km to Com on the north coast.


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