Lever pulls out as wily quarry lies low

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 November, 2003, 12:00am

Australian crocodile-hunter John Lever yesterday called an end to his hunt for the Yuen Long crocodile.

'It seems pointless to continue going out there when the croc has not been seen for the last five days,' Mr Lever said.

Although he was disappointed and a little frustrated at not catching the animal, he still believes it will be captured.

'All crocodiles are catchable. Some just take a little longer than others.'

Two crocodile experts from the mainland, invited by the Wen Wei Po newspaper, will arrive today.

They will meet Mr Lever and visit Yuen Long creek, where the reptile has previously been seen, in the afternoon.

Mr Lever admitted he faced a grilling from the Australian press when he returned, but noted he had enjoyed some good preparation through his dealings with Hong Kong's media. 'I don't worry about other people's opinions too much,' he said.

Mr Lever believes the elusive reptile is still lurking somewhere in Yuen Long creek or the Kam Tin river, and will eventually return to the where it was originally seen.

To minimise disturbance in the area, he recommended that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department carry out weekly spotlight surveys of the river until the crocodile is located.

'If it does turn up again, my advice to them is to back off ... not to disturb it.' He hopes this will give it time to re-establish the behaviour it exhibited before it was last seen.