World`s largest crocodile dies in s. Philippines

Davao City, Philippines (ANTARA News) - A giant saltwater crocodile, the longest on earth, has died while in captivity in southern Philippines.

The 6.12-meter reptile, nicknamed "Lolong", died at its pen in Bunawan town, in Mindanao`s Agusan del Sur province shortly after 8 p.m. on Sunday, Edwin Elorde, the town mayor said.

"(Lolong`s death) was very unfortunate," Santiago Cane, vice governor for Agusan del Sur province told Xinhua in a text message on Monday.

Elorde said in a phone interview that the reptile showed unusual sluggish activity hours before its demise, prompting local authorities to shut down an inland lagoon-turned resort at the upland village of Consuelo where Lolong was kept, from public.

The local government has been cashing in on the reptile as a tourism attraction in this sleepy town of more than 20,000 since the beast was captured in 2011.

"He has stopped eating his usual diet since last month. Actually, we`ve noticed unusual changes in the animal`s behavior right after last December`s typhoon," Elorde said, referring to last year`s storm that killed more than a thousand people in the region. "His belly had ballooned."

Lolong was captured in 2011 in the Agusan Marsh. Guinness World Records declared it last year as the world`s largest saltwater crocodile in captivity in the world.
(AK)

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