A southern Philippine town is mourning and plans to hold a funeral for the world's largest saltwater crocodile, and then preserve its remains in a museum so that tourists keep coming to their town. They don't want to their community to be forgotten after the one-ton crocodile was declared dead on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.
Just a few hours after the crocodile flipped over with a bloated stomach in a pond in an eco-tourism park in Bunawan town, the large animal died. Mayor Edwin Cox Eldorde said that the town had started to draw tourists, revenue, and development due to the large creature.
"The whole town, in fact the whole province, is mourning," Elorde said from Bunawan in Agusan del Sur province. "My phones kept ringing because people wanted to say how affected they are."
In 2012, Guiness World Records proclaimed the reptile to be the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity. It measured in at 6.17 meters or 20.24 feet. It beat out an Australian crocodile that measured 17 feet.
Lolong was the name given to the crocodile after a government environmental officer died from a heart attack after traveling to Bunawan to capture it. The townspeople of Bunawan loved the crocodile, but the over 50-year-old reptile had been blamed for the deaths of a number of villagers in the past.
An autopsy on Lolong is expected on Monday to determine the cause of death.