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DENR eyes NAPWC as new home for 'Lolong'

By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, Sept. 29 -– Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Ramon Paje eyes the possibility of making Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center (NAPWC) in Quezon City as the new home of 21 foot-long 'Lolong,' reportedly the world's largest crocodile in captivity and caught in Agusan waters early this month.

”NAPWC has a seven-hectare lagoon which is a better habitat for that crocodile than the 800-square meter pen where it is now,” he said Thursday during a briefing in Metro Manila.

Aside from helping increase tourist arrival at NAPWC, he said the crocodile's presence in this park will better help educate more people about protecting the country's biodiversity.

Paje said DENR could donate to the local government of Agusan del Sur province's Bunawan municipality, where 'Lolong' is under captivity at present, proceeds that NAPWC could generate from hosting the controversial crocodile.

DENR's Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) administers NAPWC.

PAWB director Theresa Mundita Lim said 'Lolong' had not eaten foods yet.

She clarified such was not unusual for crocodiles since this species could survive for months without eating, however.

”Crocodiles can also thrive even in brackish and fresh water,” she said during the briefing.

Lim noted surveillance cameras around the pen of 'Lolong' show this crocodile moves, indicating it's still alive. (PNA) RMA/CJT/rsm

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