Lolong’s death reminds all to protect environment – governor

By Anthony S. Allada

Agusan del Sur Gov. Adolph Edward “Eddie Bong” Plaza lamented that the death of Lolong, the world’s largest and biggest crocodile in captivity, reminded everybody to respect and protect the environment if only to save lives.

“Lolong’s spirit is no longer with us to return to where he has been but his body remains with us to remind the people to protect and respect the environment,” Plaza said in a text message.

But Plaza assured that the people of the province will continue its social and environmental development programs for the Agusan march, which has been promoted as a tourist destination.

Dr. Alexander Collantes, animal doctor of the Davao Crocodile Park, declared the the 20-4-foot saltwater crocodile dead at 8:20 p.m. Sunday, hours after he conducted a check up at the animal’s pen in Bunawan Eco-Park, Consuelo village.

Collantes was called upon by the park personnel over the unusual movement of Lolong and the animal physician has to immediately travel from Davao City to Bunawan.

A necropsy has yet to be performed on the animal. The crocodile was captured in a creek in the Bunawan barangay of Nueva Era in September 3, 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.

Mayor Edwin Elorde said Lolong reportedly refused to eat since last month and they noticed a change in the color of his feces and the unusual ballooning of his belly.

As early as after Typhoon Pablo hit Agusan del Sur and other parts of Mindanao last December, Lolong, showed unusual changes, local officials said.

The resort in upland Consuelo village where the crocodile had been kept was drawing hundreds of eager local tourists daily, generating up to P20,000 of gate receipts per day, the mayor said.

Elorde ordered the closure of the park on Sunday hours before Dr. Collantes declared the reptile dead.

The provincial government spearheaded by Agusan del Sur Governor Adolph Edward G. Plaza had earlier set aside more than P5 million just to support the Bunawan town’s Eco-Park.

Representatives from the United States (US)-based National Geographic and Guinness Book of World Records had documented “Lolong,” hailed to be the world’s largest crocodile caught alive. (ASA)



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