BUTUAN CITY, Philippines - “Lolong,” the world’s largest crocodile, has died in captivity.
The crocodile has been ailing since swallowing a nylon cord three weeks ago, which triggered chronic diarrhea. The reptile’s stomach started swelling, according to Rowena Elorde, special spokesperson for the Bunawan local government.
Lolong’s assigned caretaker, crocodile expert Ronnie Sumiller, has been in Palawan in recent days, prompting the Bunawan government to call in Alexander Collantes, a veterinarian from the Davao Crocodile Farm.
Collantes pronounced Lolong dead at past 8 last night. Sumiller is expected to return to Bunawan today and will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
“We tried our best to save Lolong and we are sad that this happened to him,” Elorde said, adding that Bunawan Mayor Edwin Elorde even cradled the weakened crocodile in his arms.
Lolong was captured in the Agusan Marsh, a protected area in Agusan del Sur, on Sept. 3, 2011. A special cage was built for him at the Bunawan Eco-Park and Research Center, more than 100 kilometers away from Butuan City, capital of Caraga.
The Guinness World Records officially declared him the world’s largest crocodile in captivity, at 20.24 feet or 6.17 meters long and weighing 2,370 pounds or 1.075 kilograms.
He was measured in November 2011 by Australian crocodile expert Adam Britton of National Geographic.
Lolong broke the record of the previous holder named Cassius, who is in the crocodile park of Marine Land Melanesia in Queensland, Australia. Cassius measures 17 feet 11.75 inches (5.48 meters) from snout to talk.