A giant alive saltwater crocodile was captured by veteran hunters and villagers in a remote Philippine village following a spate of attacks on humans and livestock, an official announced Monday.
The crocodile weighs more than one ton and is considered one of the largest captured alive crocodiles in recent years. The crocodile will be placed in a planned ecotourism park.
The huge male croc will be the star of the said park. Edwin Cox Elorde, mayor of the town of Bunawan in Agusan del Sur province, said that the 21 foot or 6.4 meter male crocodile was captured along the creek after a 3 week hunt. Dozens of hunters and villagers ensnared the crocodile before finally it was captured.
The reptile may have eaten a farmer who went missing in July, along with several water buffaloes in the southern town of Bunawan, crocodile hunter Rollie Sumiller said. A crocodile also bit off the head of a 12-year-old girl in Bunawan in 2009, according to the environment ministry.
The town mayor has sought the help of crocodile experts from a crocodile farm in Palawan province. “It was nerve-wracking but as mayor, it is my duty to protect the town’s inhabitants to things that pose threat to security,” Elorde said after being interviewed via telephone. “When I finally saw the crocodile, I couldn’t believe it at first. It was so big,” the mayor exclaimed.
100 people had to cooperate in order to pull the crocodile out of the trap the villagers set up. It weighs 1,075 kilograms or 2,370 pounds. A crane was needed to successfully lift it in a truck.
Josefina de Leon, wildlife division chief at the environment ministry, said that the reptile was likely the biggest crocodile ever captured. “Based on existing records the largest that had been captured previously was 17.9ft long,” she said.
The Philippine specimen would easily dwarf the largest captive saltwater crocodile on record, which the Guinness World Records website says is Cassius, an 18ft male. The Australian “salty” has lived in Marineland Melanesia, an Australian nature park near Cairns for 24 years, it said.
Published press reports have also cited a 20.3ft adult male killed on the Fly River in Papua New Guinea in 1982 that was measured after it was skinned. “The community was relieved,” Mr Sumiller said, but added: “We’re not really sure if this is the man-eater, because there have been other sightings of other crocodiles in the area.”
The team, employed by a government-run crocodile breeding farm, began laying bait using chicken, pork and dog meat on August 15. But the reptile, which measured three feet across its back, simply bit off both the meat and the line it was skewered on.
An 0.31-inch metal cable finally proved beyond the power of its jaws, and the beast was subdued in a relatively fast 15 minutes at a creek late Saturday with the help of about 30 local men.
Crocodylus porosus, or the estuarine crocodile, is the world’s largest reptile. It usually grows to 16-19ft in length and can live up to 100 years. While not considered an endangered species globally, it is “critically endangered” in the Philippines, where it is hunted for its hide which is used in the fashion industry, de Leon said.
“There have been very few sightings of porosus in the wild in the Philippines in recent years,” she added. In July, a smaller saltwater crocodile, measuring almost 14 feet was caught on the western Philippine island of Palawan after it killed a man. [via Sky News]