A crocodile in the Philippines who was officially the worlds largest captive croc and local celebrity has died, it has been reported. The massive one ton crocodile was the world’s largest saltwater crocodile and had become somewhat of a local celebrity, including getting a place in the Guinness book of world records.
There will be funeral rites held for the croc and then its body will be preserved and displayed in a local museum. The croc had brought a number of tourists to the obscure Philippine town Bunawan, and locals hope people will still come to see it when it is displayed in the museum.
The crocodile named Lolong, after a government environmental officer, was found on Sunday in a pond, flipped over with a bloated stomach. Wildlife experts started an autopsy on the creature on Monday, trying to determine cause of death.
Lolong measured 6.17 meters (20.24 feet) and was thought to be cause of a number of deaths of local villagers, until he was caught. It was estimated that he was around 50 years old. His name sake died from a heart attack after traveling to Bunawan to capture him. Since his capture Lolong captured the hearts of many locals and he also came to symbolize the rich bio-diversity of Agusan marsh where he was captured.
After his autopsy Lolong will have a tribal ritual performed which entails butchering chicken and pigs as funeral offerings to thank forest spirits for the fame and other blessings the crocodile has brought at the eco-tourism park where he became the star attraction.
Speaking about the said death of their beloved croc, Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said: “The whole town, in fact the whole province, is mourning. My phones kept ringing because people wanted to say how affected they are.”
Officals were planning on constructing a road to the park where Lolong resided, to help cope with the growing number of tourists who were flocking to the eco-park. However Lolong will be displayed in a museum to help keep tourists coming to the area, Elorde stated.
He said: “I’d like them to see the crocodile that broke a world record and put our town on the map.”
Image courtesy of audiovisualjunkie