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Posted by W von Papineäu on April 01, 2003 at 22:00:55:
PHILIPPINE STAR (Manila) 02 April 03 From killer to breeder croc (Perseus Echeminada)
After several years in the wilds, ‘Kibol,’ the killer crocodile who terrorized the coastal towns in Siargao island in Surigao del Norte in the early 90’s, is now serving a "lifetime sentence" as the principal breeder in a crocodile farm in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said yesterday.
Inocencio Castillo, officer-in-charge of the DENR’s Protected Areas and Wild Bureau (PAWB), said the 20-foot killer reptile which was captured by a special team of crocodile hunters along the swamps of Siargao Island is now busy "impregnating" young female crocodiles in the farm.
"From killer to breeder crocodile," Castillo told The STAR in a telephone interview.
The killer salt water crocodile hogged the headlines in the early 90’s when it resurfaced from the Pacific Ocean and began attacking residents in Del Carmen town in Surigao del Sur. Several attempts by local folks to kill the reptile failed triggering rumors that it was actually an "aswang" masquerading as a reptile.
Because of the threat to the residents the DENR in coordination with the local government in Surigao del Norte and non-government organizations organized a massive crocodile hunt in the island of Siargao and neighboring areas.
Even the late House Speaker Ramon Mitra joined the hunt and after several months the giant reptile was captured and brought by plane to the crocodile farm in Palawan.
Castillo said a special team in the DENR is tasked to hunt down killer reptiles that includes crocodiles, snakes and other animal species that pose threat to populated areas.
"We cannot just kill these animals because they are protected species," he said.
He said with regard to the case of ‘Kibol,’ the DENR has turned it over to the crocodile farm so that it can no longer pose danger to the residents in his natural habitat.
Aside from crocodiles, the DENR has also organized a team that will respond to any report of killer cobras and other killer snakes in various parts of the country.
Castillo said once they are able to determine the danger posed by reptiles to the population, they capture the creatures and place them in protective custody.
He said they determine what to do with the captured animals and in the case of cobras they send them to a laboratory for the extraction of their venom for medical purposes and they remain as captive animals for safe-keeping purposes.
"On the case of the killer crocodile from Surigao it was found that he is a good breeder and that‘s his role now, from killer to breeder crocodile," Castillo said.