Lolong, the Monstrous Philippine Crocodile Dies
(Article No. 6 – The Vincent Times)
February 11, 2013
On February 10, 2013, Lolong, the largest and longest saltwater crocodile in captivity… died in captivity!
The news about the death of the heavyweight reptile came as a surprise to many as such animals are expected to be as sturdy as their thick skin and could live long. Lolong’s untimely demise is a big blow to local tourism and to the country’s crocodile conservation program.
The people of Bunawan mourns the death of the celebrity crocodile that has put their small town into the attention of the world. They cried no “crocodile tears” but real ones for the giant reptile who brought them not just pride and joy but also livelihood.
Members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said that the death of Lolong was to be expected when the crocodile was removed from his natural habitat. They reiterated that the place where the crocodile was kept was too small for his size and the conditions in the place is nowhere near the conditions in the environment that the reptile is accustomed to.
The handlers of Lolong dismissed the contentions made by the members of the PETA by claiming that Lolong has already adapted to its new home and that that crocodile was given the best care.
Post-mortem on Lolong’s carcass has not been performed yet. Thus, the exact reason for the reptile’s death is unknown as of yet. Workers in the eco-tourism park where the giant crocodile was kept after it was captured tried to preserve the remains of the animal while waiting for the experts from the country’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources who would perform the necropsy. Blocks of ice and grain chaff were used to delay decomposition in Lolong’s body.
There are initial reports though claiming that Lolong swallowed a nylon cord a few weeks ago. This resulted to chronic diarrhea and eventual swelling on the left side of the reptile’s stomach. Just the same, the necropsy will have to be performed in order to officially determine the cause of the reptile’s death.
One for the Books
Lolong was not an ordinary crocodile. He was officially measured at 20 feet and 3 inches (and weighed and 2,370 punds) big enough to grab from Cassius, an Australian saltwater crocodile the distinction of being the largest crocodile in captivity.
Representatives from the Guinness Book of Records visited the Philippines last year to officially conduct the measurement and declared Lolong as the largest saltwater crocodile.
The crocodile, believed to have caused the disappearance of two people , was said to have been named after Ernesto “Lolong” G. Cañete, one the veteran crocodile hunters who helped in capturing the giant reptile. He was, however, unable to see the actual capture of Lolong for he died of a heart attack before that event happened. It was believed that the weeks spent for the hunt for Lolong took its toll on Cañete’s health.
Lolong was caught by the local crocodile hunters in the Agusan marsh in September 3, 2011. The giant reptile was then transported to the Bunawan Ecopark and Wildlife Reservation Center which is located in Agusan Del Sur. People in the area claimed that they have spotted another crocodile that seems to be bigger than Lolong.
There were attempts to bring giant reptile to the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in Quezon City, Philippines. But the mayor and people of Bunawan did not agree claiming that the reptile rightfully belongs to them.
Boost to Local Tourism
Lolong was definitely a boost to the local tourism. This was one of the reasons the mayor and people of Bunawan did not agree that Lolong be moved to a different location.
Indeed, the crocodile helped improve local tourism and contributed to not only to the generation of income for the town but also it created jobs for the people in the area.
In September, 2011 Lolong was presented for public viewing in the Bunawan ecopark. Fees were collected for the entrance and parking. Reports indicate that the municipal government of that town earns an average of P10,000 per month. Add to this the income generated from the transportation to and from the ecopark and from the purchase of souvenir items. Even the food business in the area got a boost from Lolong.
There are plans to preserve the remains of Lolong but it remains to be seen if people would be excited to see a stuffed Lolong.