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National Geographic host interested in Phl crocodiles

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - National Geographic Channel’s host and reptile expert Brady Barr said that the Philippines is a “special place for crocodiles” and expressed interest in doing an investigation about Philippine wildlife, particularly its crocodiles.

Barr said that the country’s many islands and wetlands could be the reason why it has many big crocodiles.

He also plans to visit the country again, as he believes that there are bigger crocodiles out there, larger than giant crocodiles “Surigao” and “Lolong.”

“These animals live undisturbed and unbothered, and humanity and crocodiles just kind of collided, and that is what makes the Philippines special with regard to its wildlife,” Barr said.

“I want to come back and do an investigation. I want to have more time here. The Philippines is a special place... I’m sure that there are a lot of different factors that make it a special place for crocodiles. What I’m definite about is that you have some of the biggest, healthiest, most beautiful crocodiles in the planet,” he added.

Barr visited Puerto Princesa in Palawan last June 12 and checked on Surigao, a saltwater crocodile being housed at the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center.

The huge reptile was rescued by PWRCC personnel more than two decades ago. It has been living all these years in a giant pool in a secret enclosure, away from the public eye.

“I got word of this giant crocodile Surigao. I’m always interested in giant crocodiles because there aren’t many in the planet. I wanted to go and investigate this crocodile, see how big and long it is. For whatever reason, you are keeping your crocodiles happy, big and healthy,” Barr said.

Barr also said it was an honor having met Surigao. “Although he’s not the largest crocodile in the world, he’s still a remarkable member of his species.”

Barr attempted to interact with Surigao. But upon assessment, he advised that it was best not to measure the crocodile in order to avoid subjecting the reptile to unnecessary stress.

“As always, I have the best interest of the animal at heart and would never do anything to endanger such an epic croc,” Barr said.

As for Lolong, Barr noted that with the reptile’s death, the latter could serve as an ambassador for wildlife species.

“With the move to preserve Lolong’s remains, people can still marvel at its size and magnificent qualities, so I think that’s a good thing, especially for children. When I was a kid I’d love things like that, just like my kids now. Because if you are a child or a person who appreciates crocodiles more, I think it’s a good thing,” he added.

Lolong died early this year reportedly because of pneumonia from fungal infection. The giant croc was captured in September 2011 at Magsagangsang River in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur.

Barr also said that countries in Asia, including the Philippines, are very special to him. – With Pia Lee-Brago

 

BARR

BRADY BARR

CROCODILES

LOLONG

MAGSAGANGSANG RIVER

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL

PALAWAN WILDLIFE RESCUE AND CONSERVATION CENTER

PUERTO PRINCESA

SURIGAO

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