Philippines: Lolong, the world’s biggest croc is dead
Lolong, the world’s biggest saltwater crocodile died Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 in the municipality of Bunawan, Agusan Sur, Mindanao.
Its caretaker couldn’t tell exactly its cause of death, but has observed that its left stomach had ballooned; it was stressed perhaps due to too many visitors. Its alleged age is 54 as reported by GMA TV.
Australian croc expert Dr. Adam Britton of National Geographic recognized it as such after finding its length from snout to tail to be 20 feet, 3 inches long, replacing 17 feet, 11.75- inch crocodile “Cassius” of Australia, the previous record holder.
According to Agence France Presse news report published online dated Feb. 12, 2013, Cassius’ age is estimated to be 110 years old, and has been reared in captivity for the last 26 years. Cassius was captured in the northern territory in 1984, and named after the legendary boxer Cassius Clay better known as Muhammad Ali. In the 2012 issue of the Guinness Book of Word Records, a 2-page spread is devoted in honor of this animal. On Green Island far off north Queensland coast is a spot called Marineland Melanesia Crocodile Park; it’s Cassius home for the last 24 years.
AFP through Bunawan’s spokeswoman Welinda Elorde said that they are sad because of the reptile’s death, lamenting that it brought them fame and that they are planning of having its remains preserved.
Spotlight was focused on Lolong on Sept. 3, 2011 when a duly sanctioned hunting party caught the animal in Bunawan’s marshland. It was the no. 1 suspect of biting off the head of a schoolgirl, eating a fisherman, and the disappearances of carabaos.
Lolong, who was named after a local croc lead hunter who was responsible for its capture, helped so much in the town’s revenue generation when it became a tourist attraction.
Animal conservationists demanded that Lolong be released back into the wild, arguing that its pen was too small and stressful for an animal who delights roaming open spaces.
Elorde countered by saying all that Lolong needs in the confinement of his captivity are met by caretakers, and that releasing him back to the wild would be disastrous for him. Villagers would hunt and kill him.
Elorde stressed that they’re doing their level best to provide the best place for the animal.
A newspaper report that the captive crocodile was ailing after swallowing a piece of cord had been denied as untrue by Elorde.
“We have been alternately feeding him with meat and poultry, and there was no way he could have eaten anything other than that,” she said.
Lolong belongs to the species Crocodylus Porosus, or the Indo-Pacific crocodile, the species of reptiles that can live up to a century, experts said.
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