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NatGeo team confirms Lolong the croc is world's longest

(Updated 8:30 a.m. Thursday) It was like measuring a dinosaur, said the zoologist who confirmed that Lolong is the world's biggest saltwater crocodile in captivity. Australian zoologist and crocodile expert Dr. Adam Britton led the National Geographic team that measured the giant. According to Britton in a videotaped interview with GMA News, Lolong's official measurement is 20 feet,three inches. Previous erroneous reports in media had Lolong slightly longer. Lolong was captured in the Agusan Marsh in September after reports of missing residents. Lolong now lives in a pen in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur where the sedated reptile was measured by National Geographic representatives shooting a documentary. Britton will recommend to Guinness World Records the recognition of Lolong as the world’s biggest saltwater crocodile. Guinness representatives will no longer fly to the Philippines to measure Lolong and will depend instead on the results of Britton’s measurement. The previous record-holder is an 18-foot crocodile in Australia named Cassius, which was also measured by Britton. But Lolong may have to wait several months before officially dethroning Cassius as the king of the world's captive crocodiles. “I think under Guinness’ rules, you have to wait six months before being officially declared a world record holder," Britton said. “I will give my official measurements to Guinness," Britton added. If Lolong makes it to Guinness World Records, the crocodile could drive tourism to Agusan Marsh where it was captured. Experts say the area’s tourism potential needs intensive study to avoid fatal human-crocodile encounters. The celebrity crocodile has earned nearly half-a-million pesos from donations, and entrance and parking fees at the Bunawan Eco-Park and Research Center in Barangay Consuelo, said Bunawan Mayor Edwin Elorde. The daily average income from entrance, parking fees, and donations rose to around P8,000 in October alone, Elorde added. Making world news Lolong, touted as the biggest on record two months ago, made world news after its capture on September 3. People in the Agusan Marsh suspected Lolong was the croc that ate a young girl, a fisherman, and several carabaos but this was not confirmed. After its capture, the reptile rose to become the top story on Google News as well as other international media outlets. The media followed closely the giant crocodile’s diet as Lolong refused to eat for weeks after it was caught. It finally regained its appetite in early October. Wildlife advocates are pressing for Lolong's release back into the wild, but local officials have deemed this an "irresponsible" move. — with Ben Serrano, Paterno Esmaquel II/VS/HS/ELR, GMA News