National Geographic Channel representatives on Wednesday confirmed that giant crocodile Lolong in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur is the world’s biggest saltwater crocodile in captivity, GMA News reported Wednesday.
Remarking that measuring Lolong was like measuring a dinosaur, Australian crocodile expert Dr. Adam Britton led the team that measured the giant crocodile at 21 feet and 1 inch, according to the “Balita Pilipinas" newscast.
Britton will recommend to Guinness World Records the recognition of Lolong as the world’s biggest saltwater crocodile, “Balita Pilipinas" added. The newscast said Guinness representatives will no longer fly to the Philippines to measure Lolong and will depend instead on the results of Britton’s measurement.
The current holder of the-biggest-saltwater-crocodile title measures 18 feet and is in Australia, “Balita Pilipinas" said.
If Lolong makes it to Guinness World Records, the crocodile could drive tourism to Agusan Marsh where it was captured. Experts say the area’s tourism potential needs intensive study to avoid fatal human-crocodile encounters.
The celebrity crocodile earned nearly half-a-million pesos from donations, entrance, and parking fees at the Bunawan Eco-Park and Research Center in Barangay Consuelo as of Oct. 26, said Bunawan town mayor Edwin Elorde.
The daily average income from entrance, parking fees, and donations rose to around P8,000 in October alone, Elorde added.
Making world news
Lolong, touted as the biggest on record two months ago, made world news after its capture on Sept. 3.
People in the Agusan Marsh suspected Lolong was the croc that ate a missing fisherman and several carabaos. After its capture, the reptile rose to become the top story on Google News as well as other international media outlets.
The media followed closely the giant crocodile’s diet as Lolong refused to eat for weeks after it was caught. It finally regained its appetite in early October.
Still, a number of advocates are pressing for Lolong's release back into the wild. Elorde labeled such calls “irresponsible". — With Paterno Esmaquel II/VS/HS, GMA News