Singko the giant crocodile confirmed as killer of Palawan fisherman

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Singko
Singko was said to be “stressed” by his capture, but is set for a better life as a “breeder” at a crocodile sanctuary. Picture courtesy of the PWRCC.

The giant saltwater crocodile caught in southern Palawan this week has been named Singko and confirmed as the killer of a fisherman.

The reptile was today (Wednesday, December 5) said to be 100 per cent the “accidental attacker” of Cornelio Bonete, who was killed on Balabac last Wednesday. 

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Salvador Guion, crocodile hunter with the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (PWRCC), said they were able to confirm the croc’s identity without subjecting the 15.6-foot male to a ‘gastric lavage’. This procedure would have confirmed if the animal had recently consumed human flesh.

He said: “This analysis is based on our behavioural observation of the crocodile, then community information on what is the size of the crocodile that stays in the area, where the accidental attack happened. And considering other reports, the percentage is high that he is the attacker.”

Singko was caught using a cable snare trap with goat meat last Saturday afternoon in Carandungan Bay.

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Mr Guion said his team had immediately pegged the possibility that it was the crocodile they were looking for at 95 per cent.

After securing Singko, he said, they went back to Mr Bonete’s family because some of his relatives had seen the crocodile before the attack.

He said Efren Bonete, a brother of the victim, confirmed that it was the right crocodile because of a “marking point on its tail”.

“He said it is the crocodile that attacked his brother because of a wound on its tail. The crocodile got the wound when its tail hit the outrigger of the victim’s fishing boat,” Mr Guion said.

He explained this “five per cent-worth” testimony from the brother was added to their 95 per cent suspicion to confirm Singko as the killer.

Singko to be ‘breeder’

Meanwhile, PWRCC director Ronie Gandeza said that veterinarian Dr Terry Aquino ruled against conducting the gastrointestinal decontamination — or gastric lavage — on Singko because he was already dangerously stressed.

“In her assessment, she said the animal was already in so much stress, it already needs to be released inside its pen, or the gastric lavage will cause its death. She said it’s no longer advisable due to the delay in the transportation to the city,” the PWRCC director said.

Singko is now due to be sent to a crocodile sanctuary in Puerto Princesa, which is already home to another 255 saltwater and freshwater crocodiles. It is expected he will be encouraged to breed, due to his “good genes”. 

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