MANILA, Philippines – Lolong, the world’s biggest crocodile, looked fine for the past few weeks until his handlers sensed Sunday there was a problem with the famed reptile, Bunawan town Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said Monday.
Speaking to Radyo Inquirer 990AM in an interview, Elorde said there was nothing unusual in Lolong’s condition before Sunday when personnel from the eco-tourism park, where the saltwater crocodile was being held captive, called up to tell him that the reptile was acting differently.
“He was normal until yesterday (Sunday) when I received a call from the park personnel who noticed some changes in his movements,” the mayor said in Filipino.
He also recalled that the one-ton crocodile did not eat for two days.
“We follow a feeding pattern of every ten days. He did not eat on January 23 but those looking after him said it was normal for crocodiles to change feeding patterns. But he did not make it after ignoring food for two feeding days,” said Elorde.
The crocodile’s stomach was bloated when it died.
Elorde said they were waiting for the arrival in Bunawan of experts from the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) who will determine the cause of Lolong’s death.
He said that many tried to visit the eco-tourism park after hearing of Lolong’s death, but “I asked that the park be closed so experts can take a look at the crocodile.”
Elorde said that they would continue to operate their eco-tourism park despite losing its main attraction.
“We were very shocked when he died. Not only did he help raise tourism in our town, he also prompted conservation efforts here. The eco-tourism park will continue to operate but we may have changes in the direction it intends to take,” he said.
Lolong was estimated to be around 50 years of age according to crocodile experts, said Elorde.