After 3-week hunt, villagers haul 20-foot crocodile from stream in Philippines
MANILA - Its mighty snout wrapped tightly with ropes, a one-ton, 20-foot saltwater crocodile was captured and put on display in a town in the southern Philippines, one of the biggest such reptiles to be caught in recent years.
“Lolong,’’ as it has been nicknamed, is about to become the star attraction of an ecotourism park - unless it is upstaged by an even larger reptile that may be still be on the loose.
Residents of Bunawan township celebrated when they captured the croc, with about 100 people pulling the feared beast from a creek by rope, then hoisting it by crane onto a truck. While the beast was safely tied up, they examined its teeth, claws, and stubby legs.
Their party may have been premature. After the 20-foot reptile was caught over the weekend, authorities said yesterday that a bigger crocodile may still be lurking in the remote region in Agusan del Sur Province.
The scaly-skinned Lolong, which tips the scales at 2,370 pounds, is estimated to be at least 50 years old. Wildlife officials were trying to confirm whether it was the largest such catch in the world, said Theresa Mundita Lim of the government’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau.
It was captured alive after a three-week hunt, easing some fears among the locals. A child was killed two years ago by a crocodile, and a croc is suspected of killing a fisherman who has been missing since July.
The party thrown after Lolong’s capture “was like a feast, so many villagers turned up,’’ said Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde.
Ronnie Sumiller, a wildlife official who has hunted “nuisance crocodiles’’ for 20 years and led the team that captured Lolong, said another search was under way for the possibly larger crocodile that he and residents have seen in the town’s outskirts.