Wednesday, September 21, 2011

21-Foot Crocodile Captured Alive in the Phillipines - Hunt Continues for Bigger One

In a tale straight out of a child's worst nightmare (or a badly envisioned horror film), residents of the Bunawan Township, Philippines staked out a 21-foot crocodile and, with the help of experts, captured it alive.

Although the mammoth crocodile, Lolong, is being blamed for only one death, the residents of the Bunawan Township are all too familiar with crocodile-related injuries and death to let even one death slide. However, when wildlife official Ron Sumilier forced the crocodile to vomit, it didn't produce any traces of human parts. This coupled with visual reports he and other villagers have relayed leads Sumilier to believe that there is another larger crocodile still lingering in the waters near the village.

At 21-feet, Lolong trumps the current Guinness World Record for largest saltwater crocodile (just shy of 18 feet). Scientists assume that saltwater crocodiles have the ability to grow up to 23-feet in the right conditions, and a croc of those proportions is what Sumilier is anticipating finding.

"The villagers were saying 10 percent of their fear was gone because of the first capture," Sumilier said. "But there is still the other 90 percent to take care of." Sumilier and his well-trained village hunters certainly have their work cut out for them.

As for the captured crocodile, Bunawan Mayor, Edwin Cox Elorde, says he plans to make it the "biggest star" in a future ecotourism park he hopes to construct to educate people about the vital role these nightmarish reptiles play in the local ecosystem.

The waters of the Philippines are a safe-haven for crocs, with a 1 million pesos price for killing one. Roughly 1,000 saltwater crocs inhabit the waters and 250 of the world's most endangered freshwater crocs, crocdylus mindorensis, live only in the Philippines.

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