05/09/2011 18:16 BST | Updated 05/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Villagers In Philippines Capture Giant One-Ton Crocodile

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Villagers in the Philippines have captured a one-ton crocodile they plan to make the star of a planned ecotourism park.

Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said dozens of villagers and experts ensnared the 21-foot male crocodile along a stream in Bunawan township in Agusan del Sur province after a three-week hunt.

Mr Elorde said the crocodile killed a water buffalo in an attack witnessed by villagers last month and was also suspected of having killed a fisherman who went missing in July.

"We were nervous but it's our duty to deal with a threat to the villagers," he said. "When I finally stood before it, I couldn't believe my eyes."

After initial sightings, hunters set four traps, which the crocodile destroyed. They then used sturdier traps using steel cables, one of which finally caught it.

About 100 people had to pull the crocodile, which weighs about 2,370lbs to a clearing where a crane lifted it into a truck.

The crocodile was placed in a fenced cage in an area where the town plans to build an ecotourism park for species found in a vast marshland in Agusan, an impoverished region about 500 miles from Manila.

"It will be the biggest star of the park," Mr Elorde said, adding that villagers were happy that they would be able to turn the dangerous crocodile "from a threat into an asset."

Despite the catch, villagers remain wary because several crocodiles still roam the outskirts of the farming town of about 37,000 people.

They have been told to avoid venturing into marshy areas alone at night.


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