15.6-foot long crocodile captured in Balabac

(Photo courtesy of Rizzie Ancheta/ File photo))

Wildlife experts captured on Saturday a 15.6-foot long suspected “problem crocodile” in Balabac, nearly three days after a fisherman was attacked by one in a river in the municipality.

Jovic Fabello, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) spokesperson, said the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) has been estimated to weigh around 400-500 kilograms.

It was entrapped around 2:00 p.m. by crocodile experts from the Palawan Wildlife Refuge and Rescue Center (PWRRC) headed by Salvador “Dong” Guion.

Fabello said they have yet to determine if the crocodile that is now in the custody of the Coast Guard Substation (CGSS) and the 2nd Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group (2nd SOU-MG) in Balabac is a male or a female.

“Hindi pa namin alam ang gender kasi kakahuli lang kanina at inayos pa ang paglalagakan niya doon. Pagdating dito sa Lunes, aalamin agad ‘yan kasi parang may health check din na gagawin sa kanya,” he said.

On November 27, Balabac fisherman Cornelio Bonete was attacked by a saltwater crocodile along the shoreline of Sitio Bual, Barangay Malaking Ilog.

His mutilated body was found the next day in the same area. The victim’s right arm and left foot were severed and his body is already in an advanced state of decomposition

Fabello said it cannot be transported yet to Puerto Princesa City because of strong winds and waves.

“Pansamantala doon muna sa custody ng 2nd SOU-MG at Coast Guard. Hindi pa kasi maibyahe ang buwaya dahil sa malakas daw ang alon ngayon doon. Kailangan siyang ilayo sa mga tao, hindi maaaring i-expose sa tao kasi baka masaktan nila ang buwaya,” he said.

The crocodile will be brought to the PWRRC in Barangay Irawan on Monday, where a procedure called “gastric lavage” will be done to determine the contents of its stomach.

The entrapment operation to look for the problem crocodile was started on November 30 by the PWRRC with the assistance of the 2nd SOU-MG under Senior Supt. Greg Togonon, the Philippine Navy (PN) through the Naval Forces West (NFW), Balabac Municipal Police Station (MPS), local government of Balabac, and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

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