DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 March) – The Davao Crocodile Park is planning to donate two crocodiles to the local government unit of Bunawan, Agusan del Sur to help restore its tourism industry that was cut short with the death of “Lolong”, then the world’s biggest crocodile in captivity that was kept in the town’s eco-park.
Davao Crocodile Park president and chief executive officer Philip Dizon said that talks about the planned donation have been underway right after Lolong died.
“I visited the eco-park in Bunawan right after Lolong’s death. I realized that without its main attraction which was Lolong, many people will lose their livelihood. So I offered Mayor [Edwin] Elorde two adult crocodiles,” said Dizon.
Dizon pointed out that they are planning to donate a saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and the endangered freshwater Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis).
“The two crocodiles will be a male and a female. The eco-park in Bunawan has already built two cages that are linked. We hope to successfully breed the crocodiles and hopefully help the dwindling crocodile population in Agusan Marsh,” he said.
He expressed optimism that the planned donation will help increase awareness on wildlife protection.
“Some of the offspring will be released back to the marshland and repopulate. Our intension here is to use crocodile as an inspiration for conservation in the Agusan Marsh and push more people to take part in the protection of wildlife in the area,” he said.
Dizon added that he also proposed to the town mayor to make the eco-park a nursery and suggested to cut the oil palm plants around it before the crocodiles will be donated.
Welinda Elorde, media affairs coordinator of Bunawan said in a phone interview that the plan is underway but declined to reveal more details pending the outcome of the talks.
Davao Crocodile Park has successfully bred hundreds of crocodiles each year for commercial and conservation purposes. For this year the management targets around 800 offspring. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)