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21-foot crocodile to be a star tourism attraction

Giant croc to become Philippine eco-tourism park star

Sep 05, 2011

Villagers and veteran hunters have captured a giant crocodile which they plan to make the star of a planned eco-tourism park in a southern Philippine town.
Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said dozens of villagers and experts ensnared the 21-foot, one-ton male saltwater crocodile on Saturday, along a creek in Bunawan township in Agusan del Sur province after a three-week hunt.

It could be one of the largest crocodiles to be captured alive in recent years, believes Mr Elorde, quoting local crocodile experts.

He said the crocodile killed a water buffalo in an attack witnessed by villagers last month and was also suspected of having attacked a fisherman who went missing in July.

Mr Elorde sought the help of experts at a crocodile farm in western Palawan province.

'We were nervous but it's our duty to deal with a threat to the villagers,' he said. 'When I finally stood before it, I couldn't believe my eyes.'

After initial sightings at a creek, the hunters set four traps, which the crocodile destroyed.

They then used sturdier traps using steel cables, one of which finally caught the enormous reptile late on Saturday, he said.

About 100 people had to pull the crocodile, which weighs about 2,370 pounds (1,075 kilograms), from the creek to a clearing where a crane lifted it into a truck, he said.

The crocodile was placed in a fenced cage in an area where the town plans to build an eco-tourism park for species found in a vast marshland in Agusan, an impoverished region about 515 miles (830 kilometres) southeast of Manila, Mr Elorde said.

'It will be the biggest star of the park,' the mayor said, adding that villagers were happy that they would be able to turn the dangerous crocodile 'from a threat into an asset'.

Despite the catch, villagers remain wary because several crocodiles still roam the outskirts of the farming town of about 37,000 people.

They have been told to avoid venturing into marshy areas alone at night, Elorde said.

Giant croc to become Philippine eco-tourism park star
Giant crocodile captured by residents of Bunawan township / Image via AP


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