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Lolong the crocodile dead, cause of death not yet confirmed

February 10, 2013 9:35pm
(Updated 9:58 p.m.) The world's largest crocodile in captivity, Lolong, has died.

According to Dr. Alex Collantes of the Davao Crocodile Park in Davao City, who travelled to Bunawan town in Agusan del Sur earlier in the day Sunday to check on the crocodile at the request of its keepers, Lolong died at 8:12 p.m.

"Talagang wala nang buhay si Lolong, diretsong patay 8:12 p.m.," Bunawan mayor Edwin Elorde also said in an interview on dzBB radio.

The reason for the keepers' call to Collantes has not been given, nor has Lolong's cause of death been determined.

A National Geographic team measures Lolong when he was first taken into captivity. Photo by Richard Grande

However, Elorde said that Lolong began to act irregularly shortly after Tropical Cyclone Pablo devastated parts of Mindanao and Visayas last December.

Elorde added that officials of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) will perform a  necropsy on the animal.

The 21-foot, 1,075-kilogram saltwater crocodile was captured in a creek in the Bunawan barangay of Nueva Era in September 2011. It was given the name Lolong after crocodile hunter Ernesto "Lolong" Goloran Cañete, who died of a heart attack while searching for the animal.

Lolong was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest crocodile in captivity.

"He was measured by experienced handlers in his custom built enclosure at Bunawan Eco-Park and Research Center, Philippines. Lolong's weight was also measured at a nearby truck weigh-bridge and verified as approximately 1075 kg (2370 lbs)," it said.

"The capture of the crocodile came after a two-year effort to remove the animal thought responsible for a young girl's death at Agusan Marsh in early March 2009, and later the disappearance of a fisherman close to Bunawan Village. Lolong is said to be healthy and in very good body condition following the regulatory three month monitoring period having exceeded whilst living in captivity," it added.

Elorde said that they plan to ask the National Museum for help in preserving Lolong's remains. — BM, GMA News



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