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Posts Tagged ‘21-foot crocodile’

What a croc!

From Yahoo! News:

Villagers and veteran hunters have captured a one-ton saltwater crocodile which they plan to make the star of a planned ecotourism park in a southern Philippine town, an official said Monday.

Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said dozens of villagers and experts ensnared the 21-foot (6.4-meter) male crocodile along a creek in Bunawan township in Agusan del Sur province after a three-week hunt. It could be one of the largest crocodiles to be captured alive in recent years, he said, quoting local crocodile experts.

Elorde said the crocodile killed a water buffalo in an attack witnessed by villagers last month and was also suspected of having attacked a fisherman who went missing in July.

He said he sought the help of experts at a crocodile farm in western Palawan province.

“We were nervous but it’s our duty to deal with a threat to the villagers,” Elorde told The Associated Press by telephone. “When I finally stood before it, I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

After initial sightings at a creek, the hunters set four traps, which the crocodile destroyed. They then used sturdier traps using steel cables, one of which finally caught the enormous reptile late Saturday, he said.

About 100 people had to pull the crocodile, which weighs about 2,370 pounds (1,075 kilograms), from the creek to a clearing where a crane lifted it into a truck, he said.

The crocodile was placed in a fenced cage in an area where the town plans to build an ecotourism park for species found in a vast marshland in Agusan, an impoverished region about 515 miles (830 kilometers) southeast of Manila, Elorde said.

“It will be the biggest star of the park,” Elorde said, adding that villagers were happy that they would be able to turn the dangerous crocodile “from a threat into an asset.”

Despite the catch, villagers remain wary because several crocodiles still roam the outskirts of the farming town of about 37,000 people.

They have been told to avoid venturing into marshy areas alone at night, Elorde said.

If only Steve Irwin were alive today…

I can see him standing next to the great crocodile.

Eyes large with excitement.

“By crikey! What a little beauty!”

***

There have been claims of much larger crocodiles being captured, but it seems that 21 feet is as long as this species gets– at least whenever one of these large crocodiles is captured near a decent tape measure.

When they are captured in some remote part of Northern Australia or some fishing village on the Bay of Bengal, their size tends get a bit inflated. Through the rumor mill, 21-footers magically turn into 30 footers– the creatures of nightmares and bad horror movies.

Let’s hope that this big crocodile, whose only confirmed crime was that he killed a water buffalo, is used to the betterment of our understanding of this species. This part of the world isn’t known for its tolerance and understanding of wildlife. This is the same country where tourists can get their photos taken with “the world’s smallest monkey,” which are actually the Philippine tarsier.  Tarsiers aren’t monkeys at all, but they are haplorhine primates– just like monkeys, apes, and us.  Tarsiers are nocturnal, but they are kept awake during the day for the tourists to have their photographs. The smallest monkey is actually the pygmy marmoset of South America, and the smallest primate is Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, which, like all lemurs, is found only in Madagascar.  A 4 ounce Philippine tarsier would dwarf this diminutive creature, which tips the scales at a measly 1.1 ounce.

One can only imagine that at tarsier would face if it were forced to stay away all day. For a nocturnal creature, it could be one of the worst things that could happen to it in a captive situation. And then it is forced to share space with strangers, who flit in and out and flash bright lights from their cameras right into those amazing globular eyes, which are perfectly adapted to helping the tarsier find its way in the darkness.

It is not a good life for any wild creature, but one that likely to stress a poor tarsier to death.

Let’s hope that the crocodile keepers who have this monster have more expertise than the cheap tarsier tourist attraction. Let’s hope that this big crocodile gets a home where no longer has to worry about other male crocodiles challenging him and where he’ll never have to worry about a water buffalo stabbing him with its horns as he pulls it from the bank. Let’s hope that he has access to females, where he can pass on his gargantuan genetics onto a new generation of crocodiles.

Let’s give this old boy the retirement he deserves.

No longer king of the marsh, let’s hope he become king of the crocodile park.

That is what this creature deserves, if we have decided, as these people have, that it is too risky to allow him to live in the marsh where people and their livestock frequent.

It’s not the best decision, but it may be the only good compromise out of the whole deal.

21-foot crocodiles don’t show up every day.

He’s as unique as he is magnificent.

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