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09-08-2011, 01:13 PM #1
Villagers capture world's largest crocodile
It weighs one ton and is believed responsible for eating at least one fisherman, but this monster crocodile has finally been caught by 100 very cautious men.
Measuring 21ft from snout to tail, the massive creature is the largest crocodile captured alive in recent years.
The beast was caught, after a three-week hunt, in a creek in the Philippines by villagers who had lived in fear of it for more than 20 years.
Its nearest rival in the monster stakes is Cassius, an Australian salt-water crocodile which measures a 'mere' 18ft - and which is still on the loose in the Northern Territory.
The Philippine crocodile's domain was a river system in Agusan, a poverty-stricken region 500 miles south east of Manila, but while it was a constant threat to villagers no one was brave enough to try to capture it.
However, when a village fisherman went missing and the crocodile became the chief suspect, plans were hatched to catch it.
It was placed under observation and when it was witnessed by several villagers killing a water buffalo they knew their suspicions were right.
'We were very nervous about tackling this beast but it was our duty to deal with it because it was a threat to many villagers and their farm animals,' said the local mayor, Mr Edwin Elorde.
'When I finally saw it after its capture I couldn't believe my eyes.
'It was big enough to swallow three men all at once.'
The operation to capture the croc - which has yet to be named - was set in place after it was seen in a creek.
Villagers set four net traps, which the crocodile destroyed with a mighty snap of its jaws.
So the second time around the villagers used traps made of steel cables and this time the animal failed to get away.
At least 100 men were required to pull the huge reptile on to the banks of the creek where, after a great deal of difficulty, it was bound up and then lifted by crane on to the back of a truck.
They weren't going to let the victory pass without having their photo taken, so many of the villagers posed beside their scaly captive before it was driven off to a confined area.
Despite the suspected death of the fisherman, the crocodile is destined for fame.
It is expected to be the star attraction at a new eco-tourism park that is being set up in Agusan.
'It will be the biggest star of the park,' said Mr Elorde.
'The villagers, of course, are very happy that they have been able to turn this dangerous crocodile from a threat into an asset.'
But the 37,000 people who live in the region have been told not to rest on their laurels.
Many other large crocodiles remain in the rivers and people have been told not to venture into marsh areas alone at night.