Sunday, June 19, 2011

Monster Croc to Become Conservation Figurehead

Villagers look at the massive saltwater crocodile caught in the town of Bunawan, Agusan del Sur province on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Photo courtesy: theepochtimes

A 21 foot (6.4 meter) saltwater crocodile has been caught in a remote southern Filipino village, following a three-week hunt to track it down.

The giant reptile was captured alive in Agusan del Sur province, where a child was killed by a crocodile two years ago and a missing fisherman is believed to have suffered the same fate.

The animal weighs 2,370 pounds (1,075 kilograms) and is probably at least 50 years old, according to The Associated Press (AP).

An experienced wildlife official worked with trained villagers to trap the croc, but says there is a still larger one on the loose that may be the man-eater.

The local mayor plans for the captive creature to become a feature at a nature park to raise awareness of crocodiles' place in the ecosystem.

Theresa Mundita Lim of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau said wildlife officials are trying to confirm whether the catch is the largest in the world, AP reported.

According to the Guinness World Records, an Australian saltwater croc named Cassius is the largest animal in captivity at almost 18 feet (5.48 meters), and animals in the wild can reach 23 feet (7 meters) in length and live for over 100 years.

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