The world's largest crocodile has died in captivity in the Philippines, cutting short the sensational tourism career of the nearly 21-foot-long suspected maneater.
Lolong was his name, and the enormous reptile had until late Sunday resided in a zoo in Agusan del Sur province, according to the Philippine Inquirer — and had attracted legions of curious admirers since his 2011 capture.
The crocodile probably perished after eating a dangerous nylon cord, suggested the Philippine Star, and an autopsy will be conducted Monday to determine the cause of death.
“We tried our best to save Lolong and we are sad that this happened to him,” Bunawan spokesperson Rowena Elorde told the Star, also informing the paper that "Bunawan Mayor Edwin Elorde even cradled the weakened crocodile in his arms."
Lolong had likely been involved in attacks on humans, although these aggressive tendencies were never officially confirmed, wrote the Inquirer.
The scare-factor of the beast paid off for Bunawan, a tiny community: the crocodile attracted thousands of paying tourists yearly.
It was only in July 2012 that Lolong had taken the official Guiness Book of World Records' title for the largest reptile in captivity, sparking celebration in Bunawan, the small farming town near where the beast was captured.