BUTUAN CITY -- A 14-foot long saltwater crocodile was found dead along one of the waterways of the mangrove forest near the town of Del Carmen in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte Thursday morning.
The dead crocodile was discovered by a team from a non-government organization (NGO) doing mangrove assessment and local residents just before noon of Thursday, October 27.
“The dead crocodile was found by a team composed of personnel from the Sentro Para sa Ika Uulad ng Katutubong Agham at Teknolohiya (Sikat) a non-government organization conducting mangrove assessment together with a local people’s organization,” said Gina Barquilla, Municipal Environmental Resource Officer (Menro) in the town of Del Carmen
Barquilla surmised that the crocodile must have died recently as there was still no sign of decomposition.
“They found the dead crocodile at around 10:30 in the morning, we immediately headed straight to the mangrove area in barangay Esperanza at around 11:20 to check on the report,” Barquilla said.
Data from Sikat personnel upon verification and measurement suggested that the animal was a saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) that was about 14 feet 9 inches long and 2 feet 8 inches wide in diameter.
Alfredo Coro II, municipal mayor of Del Carmen, said the incident is a major drawback on the town’s efforts on environmental conservation.
“Our personnel together with the NGO’s and that of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are checking for any foul play that might have caused the death of the crocodile and I am also pushing that the incident be investigated,” said Coro.
Coro pointed out that the demise of the crocodile should serve as a reminder to the town folks and others in Siargao.
“Even though the death is tragic but this will serve as a reminder that the presence of crocodile in Del Carmen is not just a legend but a reality and that people should be careful not to swim along the mangrove as it would be an accident waiting to happen and such incident would only hamper and create problems for the protection and conservation efforts,” said Coro.
Dianne Animo, program manager of Sikat expressed that the death of the crocodile signifies the important of protection and conservation in Del Carmen.
“This incident signifies the need for a more intensified operation in safe guarding the remaining local population of saltwater crocodiles in the wild. It is also significant to point out that the community should be a part on this effort to protect and conserve not only this species but the entire eco-system,” said Animo.
For the vast majority of resident in the area, it is the first time for them to see the crocodile after decades.
Fishermen, on the other hand, have reported sightings of the crocodiles along the mangrove areas in barangay’s Mabuhay, Del Carmen, Domoyog Island, San Fernando, Sitio Pangi Antipolo and in San Jose. Reports also suggest sightings on the mangrove areas along the neighboring town of San Benito.
The local government of Del Carmen is planning to preserve the dead crocodile and display it at the town’s Mangrove Protection Information Center.