Thursday 23 November 2017

Giant croc 'biggest in captivity'

unawan Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde pretends to measure a huge crocodile which was captured by residents in the Philippines (AP)
unawan Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde pretends to measure a huge crocodile which was captured by residents in the Philippines (AP)

A huge crocodile blamed for deadly attacks in the southern Philippines is the largest in captivity in the world, Guinness World Records has declared.

The giant reptile has boosted pride, fear and tourism revenues in the remote town where it was captured.

The saltwater crocodile named Lolong, which was snared last September in Bunawan town in Agusan del Sur province, measures 20.24ft and weighs more than a tonne, Guinness spokeswoman Anne-Lise Rouse said.

The reptile took the top spot from an Australian crocodile which measured more than 17ft and weighed nearly a tonne.

Bunawan mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said the news sparked celebrations in his farming town of 37,000, but also fostered concerns that more giant crocodiles might be lurking in a nearby marshland and creeks where villagers fish.

"There were mixed feelings," Mr Elorde said.

"We're really proud because it proves the rich biodiversity of our place - but at the same time, there are fears that Lolong may not be alone."

Lolong has become the star attraction of a new eco-tourism park and research centre in the outskirts of Bunawan, and has drawn thousands of tourists since news of the creature's capture spread worldwide.

Mr Elorde said his town has earned three million pesos (£45,830) from the modest entrance fees at the park, with most of the money being used to feed and care for the crocodile and to carry out park maintenance.

Environment and natural resources secretary Ramon Paje welcomed the Guinness announcement and the growing attention being given to the crocodile, saying it would help people realise the biodiversity of their surroundings and the need to protect it.

Press Association

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