Celebrity status overwhelms Yuen Long croc

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 October, 2004, 12:00am

Pui Pui scuttles into hiding after being released into her new public enclosure

Pui Pui, the Yuen Long crocodile, went on show in her new public enclosure yesterday - and promptly hid behind some bushes.

The cunning croc, which evaded capture for seven months after first being spotted, snapped once as her two Kadoorie Farm handlers removed a restraining band from her jaws, before scuttling into hiding.

'At the moment she's particularly shy,' Kadoorie Farm senior manager Gary Ades said.

'Obviously she's just come straight out of quarantine and suddenly there are a lot of people in front of her, so I'm not surprised at her reaction. We're hopeful that once she gets comfortable in her new enclosure she will actually lay out in front of the visitors.'

Dr Ades expected Pui Pui to settle into her new environment within a few days.

The outdoor enclosure is six times the size of the quarantine quarters Pui Pui has occupied since she was handed over to Kadoorie Farm on June 23. It features infra-red light to provide heat and a sandy area that provides softer ground for her to move on. There is also plenty of vegetation, with flowers and bushes down its side.

The enclosure is open to public viewing daily from 9.30am to 5pm until the end of next year, when Pui Pui will be transferred to a wetland park in Tin Shui Wai.

Kadoorie Farm senior veterinarian Nimal Fernando said Pui Pui was in good health. 'We've taken some blood and done some physical examinations this morning, but we're not looking for anything that we're concerned about,' he said.

Dr Ades said the crocodile, which refused food for two months after being captured, was now eating fish, which was probably what she was eating in the wild.

'At the moment she'll be fed once a week, but as the weather cools down a bit it will be more infrequent, which is normal.'

Pui Pui is the same length as when she arrived at Kadoorie Farm - 1.5m - but her weight has dropped slightly, from 14kg to 12.55kg.

Viewing Pui Pui is free. Groups of more than 50 are advised to make reservations two weeks in advance. Individuals can simply drop by during opening hours.