MANILA - The city government of Bislig in Surigao del Sur plans to create a tourist attraction featuring the 11-foot saltwater crocodile that was captured last week, its mayor said on Monday.
“After ma-rehabilitate kini nga buaya, kini nga reptile, ibalik na diri sa ato sa Bislig. So, ato ning himuon nga mura’g tourist attraction ba,” Mayor Florencio Garay said of the animal which is a critically endangered species.
(After this crocodile, this reptile is rehabilitated, it will be brought back here to Bislig. So we will make this as a tourist attraction.)
The male crocodile, estimated to weigh between 250 and 300 kilos, was accidentally spotted and captured in the city’s Barangay Pamanlinan late night on April 12. It was the first crocodile captured in the locality, according to City Administrator Romulo Garay.
It was subsequently brought to a wildlife resource center in Kapalong, Davao del Norte since Bislig City has no facility yet for crocodiles.
The mayor cited how the local government of Bunawan in neighboring Agusan del Sur province also turned “Lolong”, once the “world’s largest crocodile in captivity”, into a tourist attraction.
The giant saltwater crocodile, measuring 20.24 feet or 6.17 meters, was captured in 2011 but died on Feb. 10, 2013.
“Parehas didto, kung nakahinumdum mo didto sa Bunawan nga aduna’y buaya dito sa, kadtong ginganla’g Lolong. Mao pud ni atong himuon diri. Mao gani, duna nay area nga atong, diin atong ibutang ning buaya dinhi, kay ilabi na nga we are also planning to have a river cruise, nga kini usa kini, part kini sa usa sa mga attraction unya diha sa maong lugar,” Mayor Garay said.
(What we plan to do here will be similar to what Bunawan did with the crocodile named Lolong that was captured there. We have an area here where we can place this newly captured crocodile, especially that we are also planning to have a river cruise. This will be part of the attraction in that place.)
The city tourism office of Bislig said Tuesday there is no set location yet for the said crocodile once it is returned since the Department of Environment and Natural Resources “has yet to do necessary assessment and management plan.”
The DENR officer in Bislig City said the planned site or facility that will house the captured crocodile must satisfy the requirements of the agency’s Biodiversity Management Bureau.
Nathaniel Racho told ABS-CBN News by phone on Tuesday that a rescue center or facility must have features almost similar to a crocodile’s natural habitat.
He recalled the death of “Lolong” while in the eco-park that was built for him.
The DENR had said initial findings from a necropsy performed on the crocodile suggested that he may have died of pneumonia and cardiac arrest. An agency official said lesions were found in Lolong’s major organs such as heart, lung, kidney and intestines, indicating possible chronic infection that may have been aggravated by stress.