BUNAWAN, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 12 Feb) – After more than four hours of conducting necropsy on the body of Lolong at the Bunawan Eco Park, the team from the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippine National Museum, Palawan and Davao crocodile farms reached a conclusion that the examination the conducted was not enough to conclude what caused the giant crocodile’s death.
[caption id="attachment_41557" align="alignleft" width="620"] LOLONG’S DEMISE. Experts from Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, Palawan Wildlife and Rescue Center, and Davao Crocodile Park perform a necropsy on the belly of Lolong at the Bunawan Eco-Park in Agusan del Sur early dawn Tuesday (12 January 2013). Their initial findings were inconclusive, and the experts said they have to conduct more laboratory tests and results may come in two weeks. MindaNews photo by Roel Catoto[/caption]
“After the necropsy, the findings we have are inconclusive. We did a thorough examination on the crocodile and we found nothing for us to conclude what might have been the crocodile’s cause of death,” said Dr. Esteven Toledo, team leader and biologist at PAWB.
Toledo explained that they already took the next step – to take the samples from Lolong’s different organs for clinical and laboratory tests.
“We will be bringing the samples to Manila and to the University of the Philippines in Los Baños for laboratory analysis and hopefully we will have the results after two weeks,” he said.
The team arrived in this town around 11:30 in the evening after a long flight from Palawan to Manila then to Davao City, and yet another long drive to Bunawan. After more than an hour of discussion with local government personnel on procedures, the team started the necropsy around 1:20 a.m.
For more than four hours the team slowly examined Lolong in the pool where the crocodile received its visitors when it was still alive.
It took several men just to turn the 20-foot crocodile’s body upside down.
“The most difficult part of the entire process was the skinning since Lolong is so big. The skinning alone took us more than two hours, not to mention all the other procedures we made,” Toledo said.
Alvin Diesmos, a scientist at the National Museum, pointed out that the team needed to slowly cut open the crocodile.
“When we arrived we expected that there would already be an early stage of decomposition. But the body was well preserved with all the ice used. We made sure that it was thorough and the incisions made were properly done to better preserve everything,” said Diesmos.
He said that when all the processes have been done, they plan to make a replica of Lolong so that others in the rest of the country can see it.
Bunawan Mayor Edwin Elorde is also mulling preserving Lolong’s body for display at the eco park. (Erwin Mascariñas and Roel Catoto / MindaNews)