MANILA, Philippines—A 10-foot crocodile with a wide gash near its belly was flown from its home in Indanan, Sulu, to Manila aboard a C-130 Philippine Air Force cargo plane to be treated for its injury.
The male saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), measuring 10.7 feet and about 15-20 years old, required a dozen men to lift it on to the operating table at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Rescue Center in Quezon City where it was taken.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) said the croc was caught by two fishermen in the Suba Datu river in the village of Buansa on Nov. 16.
One of the fishermen told the local environment officer that the crocodile had been fighting with another croc when they spotted and caught it, according to PAWB Director Mundita Lim.
The croc had a gaping wound straight across the base of its tail and another wound near one of the eyes, which has since healed. Lim said the crocodile likely was injured when the locals tied a rope too tightly around it.
“It has not eaten since November,” Lim said. But she wasn’t too worried as “Lolong,” the world’s largest captive crocodile in Bunawan town, Agusan del Sur, also waited more than a month before it was able to feed in its enclosure.
To Jolo, then Zamboanga
From Indanan, the large reptile was taken to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in Jolo, and then to Zamboanga City, where it received medical aid from local private veterinarian Dr. Anton Lim.
“But Dr. Lim recommended that it be taken to PAWB as they did not have the facilities to stitch up the wound,” Mundita Lim said.
She said her office then wrote the Air Force asking that it transport the crocodile to the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.
The Air Force responded and in one day flew the croc to Villamor Air Base, Lim said. The crocodile arrived in Manila at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday.
Lim said the crocodile’s wound would be stitched up and treated for infection.
It still looks quite active, resisting attempts to bind it and taking 12 men to carry it from the ground to the operating table. A rope was used to bind its jaws.
If the crocodile recovers, it will be brought back to the place where it was found, or if not, it will be taken to a breeding farm in Palawan.
“Definitely it will not stay in the Ninoy Park, since it was caught in the wild,” she said.
Unlike Bunawan’s Lolong, which was kept in an enclosure because it could pose a danger to people, this crocodile of the same species was not considered a nuisance yet, Lim said.
The crocodile has not been given a name yet, she added.
But she said there were suggestions to name it “Nur,” presumably after Nur Misuari, ex-Moro rebel leader and former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, of which Sulu is a part.