"..a bardy view!"

Crocodile Tears for Lolong


King croc
In September 2011 I wrote about the largest saltwater
crocodile captured alive (King Croc Down Mindanao Way).

 That post highlighted the efforts of the villagers in
a remote area of Mindanao in the Philippines, to hunt down the creature because
it was extremely dangerous.

Having ensnared it, the local mayor proposed to turn it into
a tourist attraction, much to the consternation of wildlife groups.

Sadly 16
months down the line, their fears have been realised. Lolong is dead.

This is very sad news, not only sad for Lolong the Croc, but
also sad for the Philippines. The mayor of Bulowan (Edwin Cox Elorde) has many
questions to answer. Indeed he is awash with floods of crocodile tears.

Lolong has been drawing tourists on a daily basis,
generating over £3000 a week in viewing fees. That's a lot of money for a
small and previously obscure community.

Indeed it equates to nearly £200,000 since capture, although
the eco-park where he was kept only earned 15% of that. The mayor rejected
calls to return him to his natural habitat, on the grounds that he would
present a danger to residents living in the marsh areas.

An initial autopsy suggests that a nylon fishing line could
be the cause of death, and interfered in his digestive system. Perhaps the
artificial environment failed to protect him.

Still, it's not all over yet. The Mayor intends holding funeral rites, after
which he will be stuffed and preserved in a museum just to keep the tourist
coming back. (The croc I mean – not the mayor!)

 "The whole town,
the whole province is mourning"
he said, fighting back tears, adding "I was with him until his last breath" whilst blaming his demise on
Typhoon Pablo last December. Presumably the wind blew in a fishing
line which Lolong couldn't resist.

The Environment Secretary Ramon Paye has described Lolong as
an ambassador, and that" his death is a loss to the country's preservation
programme for reptiles
." An unfortunate turn of phrase by a government minister,
some may suggest it takes one to know one.

The loss to the locals is considerable. Many became vendors
and some were able to invest in tricycles to ferry visitors back and forth.

Lolong didn't get the best of starts in captivity, he was
named after a government environment official who died from a heart attack
trying to capture him. In fact, Lolong the Croc was a real killer, and blamed
for many deaths over several years.

His hunt was sparked in vigour because he was a man-eater.
Yet, from hatred, the locals learned to love him. They did extremely well to
catch him alive. But one wonders if his incarceration was nothing more than the
equivalent of a life sentence in prison. Worse still, he has a mate – out there
somewhere – and she is now an aggrieved widow.

It's the sorry tale of man and beast trying to share the
same space. There are no winners, only losers. 

That, unfortunately, is the way of the world.

Related articles

Lolong, world's largest captive crocodile, dies in Philippines
Agusan del Sur town mourns 'Lolong'
World's largest croc 'Lolong' dies
World's largest crocodile dies of chronic diarrhoea –

February 12, 2013 - Posted by | Conservation, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, The Philippines, Travel | , , , ,

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