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Giant crocodile captured alive in Philippines

Sept. 6, 2011 - 15:31 By

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Villagers and veteran hunters have captured a one-ton saltwater crocodile which they plan to make the star of a planned ecotourism park in a southern Philippine town, an official said Monday.

In this photo taken Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011, Mayor Cox Elorde of Bunawan township, Agusan del Sur Province, pretends to measure a huge crocodile which was captured by residents and crocodile farm staff along a creek in Bunawan late Saturday in southern Philippines. (AP-Yonhap News)

Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said dozens of villagers and experts ensnared the 21-foot (6.4-meter) male crocodile along a creek in Bunawan township in Agusan del Sur province after a three-week hunt. It could be one of the largest crocodiles to be captured alive in recent years, he said, quoting local crocodile experts.

Elorde said the crocodile killed a water buffalo in an attack witnessed by villagers last month and was also suspected of having attacked a fisherman who went missing in July.

He said he sought the help of experts at a crocodile farm in western Palawan province.

``We were nervous but it's our duty to deal with a threat to the villagers,'' Elorde told The Associated Press by telephone. ``When I finally stood before it, I couldn't believe my eyes.''

After initial sightings at a creek, the hunters set four traps, which the crocodile destroyed. They then used sturdier traps using steel cables, one of which finally caught the enormous reptile late Saturday, he said.

About 100 people had to pull the crocodile, which weighs about 2,370 pounds (1,075 kilograms), from the creek to a clearing where a crane lifted it into a truck, he said.

The crocodile was placed in a fenced cage in an area where the town plans to build an ecotourism park for species found in a vast marshland in Agusan, an impoverished region about 515 miles (830 kilometers) southeast of Manila, Elorde said.

``It will be the biggest star of the park,'' Elorde said, adding that villagers were happy that they would be able to turn the dangerous crocodile ``from a threat into an asset.''

Despite the catch, villagers remain wary because several crocodiles still roam the outskirts of the farming town of about 37,000 people.

They have been told to avoid venturing into marshy areas alone at night, Elorde said.


<한글 기사>

필리핀서 길이 무려 6.4m '괴물 악어' 생포

필리핀에서 한 명의 어부를 물어간 것으로 추정되는 길이 6.4m, 몸무게 1t의 '괴물 악어'가 잡혔다.

필리핀 남부 민다나오섬 아구산 델 수르(Agusan del Sur) 지역 주민과 악어잡이 전문가들은 인근 부나완 계곡에서 이 악어 사냥에 나선 지 3주일 만인 지난 4일 덫을 이용, 악어를 생포했다고 일간 필리핀 데일리 인콰이어 등 현지 언론이 6일 전했 다.

이 섬 일대에서는 지난 7월 어부 한 명이 실종되면서 '식인 악어' 소문이 돌기 시작했다.

또 거대한 악어가 물소를 한 번에 공격해 죽이는 장면을 목격했다는 주민 진술 도 나왔다.

주민들은 악어 사냥꾼을 동원해 악어가 다닐 만한 곳에 덫을 놓고 대대적인 악어 포획에 나섰다.

콕스 에롤드 시장은 "악어를 물 밖으로 끌어내는 데만 100여명이 동원돼야 할 정도로 엄청난 크기의 악어"라고 말했다.

일부 외신은 이 악어가 기네스북에 등재된 5.5m짜리 오스트레일리아 악어보다 크다고 전했다.

붙잡힌 악어는 인근 생태 관광 농장으로 보내질 것으로 전해졌다.

에롤드 시장은 "주민의 공포 대상이 됐던 악어가 관광 자원으로 변신할 것"이라 고 말했다. (연합뉴스)