A giant crocodile suspected of killing two people has been declared the largest crocodile in captivity by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The deadly reptile, named Lolong, was hunted in the Philippines for three weeks after it was blamed on the death of a girl and the disappearance of a fisherman. Finally located in the Agusan marsh on the southern island of Mindanao last September. In capturing the crocodile, it took 100 people to pull the saltwater beast from the creek, before Lolong was hoisted by crane on to a truck. Lolong has been kept in captivity ever since.
Stretching 6.7m long (22ft), and weighing more than a tonne, the leviathan has become a major tourist attraction in Bunawan, a remote Philippine town with a population of under 5,000. An ecotourism park has been built around the crocodile's enclosure, with town officials claiming to have already made roughly $60,000 from ticket sales.
Guinness World Records, who handed the town an official certificate recognising the achievement, stated:
"The largest crocodile in captivity is Lolong, a saltwater crocodile, who measured 6.17 m. Lolong's weight was also measured at a truck weigh-bridge and verified as 1,075 kg."
Welinda Asis Elorde, media affairs coordinator for Bunawan, stated that Lolong was coping with his newfound celebrity.
"He's doing well. I think he has already adapted to his new environment. I was there yesterday and he remains a big tourist attraction. Hundreds of people visit him in a day."
The non-government oraganisation Animal Kingdom Foundation Inc has previously urged that the local government of Bunawan release Lolong from captivity and return him to the area of his capture. Government officials have refused, stating that it would jeopardise the safety of residents by the creek.
The previous Guinness record holder was Cassius, a 5.48m Australian crocodile weighing just under a tonne.