Animal experts say the giant crocodile (named Lolong by residents) could still be under stress after struggling with the captors who brought the critically-endangered reptile to a safe area of the town.
"Wildlife official Ronnie Sumiller, who led the hunt for the croc nicknamed "Lolong," said Friday
the reptile is being closely observed for signs of stress. But he said it's normal for crocodiles to be stressed after being trapped and handled."
"Even in the wild, they don't normally eat daily, and a crocodile as huge as Lolong can go without food for up to six months," Sumiller told The Associated Press.
Lolong has been placed in a concrete pond with an area of about 800 sq.m. with about 4' tall concrete wall and welded wire on top.
The giant crocodile measured 21' (6.4) meters and weight around 2, 370 pounds. The crocodile has reportedly killed a male resident and a 12-year-old girl who was attacked in 2009.
Local officials are planning to use the healthy giant crocodile as a tourist attraction because of its reported record-breaking size. The captive crocodile is reportedly "bigger than the previous largest captive saltwater crocodile, which the Guinness World Records website lists as a 5.48-metre (18-foot) male that lives at an Australian nature park." AFP/Yahoo reports
Ashley Fruno, of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals said "the reptile was better off being returned to the wild, away from human settlements."
But residents in the nearby swampland are opposing the return of Lolong to the swampland because of the danger it poses to the residents in the area.
Representatives of National Geographic and the Guiness Book of Records are scheduled to arrive in the Philippines to validate the measurements
of the giant reptile and to determine if it is indeed the world's biggest saltwater crocodile in captivity.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said local government officials are opposing the release of Lolong to its original habitat because of fear the crocodiles will attack residents of their towns.
According to DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, the country's crocodile breeding program has produced 7,000 crocodiles but they could not just be released to the wilds because of the danger it poses to residents.
"There is no mayor anywhere in the Philippines who would allow the release of crocodiles in his municipality.", Paje said
The Philippine saltwater crocodile is critically endangered due to loss of habitat.