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BUNAWAN, Agusan del Sur - Residents of Barangay Nueva Era in Agusan del Sur are urging the municipal government to hunt down a crocodile believed bigger and longer than Lolong, the beast captured last year and which was recently proclaimed by the Guinness World Records as the largest crocodile in captivity.
The barangay council of Nueva Era headed by Barangay Captain Teofanies Adlawan passed a resolution last December 27, 2011 and another last April 23 to fast track the hunt, capture, or rescue of another large crocodile which they believe is bigger than Lolong.
In their letters sent to their barangay leaders and town officials, residents claimed they saw the crocodile attacking a carabao past midnight last April 16 at Magsagangsang Creek, where Lolong was also caught.
On April 6, again past midnight, residents said they saw the crocodile with smaller ones in a group, floating down the same waters. There was reportedly another sighting on April 3 at the buffer zone of the Agusan Marsh, which is near Barangay Nueva Era.
And last March 19, residents claimed they saw the large crocodile with smaller ones near the floating houses of indigenous people at the Agusan Marsh.
In the three letters sent to Barangay Nueva Era and Bunawan town officials, the residents said that large crocodiles can be seen by people when the water level of Agusan Marsh rises, or if there is flooding.
"We hope that the hunt will be initiated soonest," residents said the residents stated in their three letters dated September 19 and December 22, 2011, and March 14, 2012, acknowledging official concerns that local crocodiles belong to an endangered species. "Don't blame the people if they act drastically against these crocodiles that endangers people's lives too."
Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) Director Theresa Mundita Lim, in a July 3, 2012, letter to Bunawan Mayor Edwin Elorde, said previous surveys in Agusan Marsh - including over creeks and rivers were crocodiles have been sighted - indicate no presence of large crocodiles in the area. But the Bunawan LGU in their reply letter to Lim claimed that the surveyors belonging to the Crocodylus Porosus Philippines Inc. or (CPPI) did not stay long enough, nor scour the whole area of Agusan Marsh.
“We scoured Agusan Marsh, creeks and rivers and in the creek where Lolong was captured for months before we rescued Lolong. The water areas of Agusan Marsh where crocodiles possibly roamed around by now is 55,000 hectares. How can these CPPI people survey these areas over only one week or even less?” said Mayor Elorde who admitted Renier paid a courtesy call at his office before CPPI started its survey.
Lolong was captured/rescued on September 3, 2011, at the Magsagangsang creek in Barangay Nueva Era, which forms part of the huge Agusan Marsh.