North Cotabato, Philippines – A group of fishermen caught a crocodile in the village of Dunguan here on Saturday but demanded P40,000 in cash in exchange for turning over the beast to authorities, local officials said.
The crocodile, some eight feet long, was trapped in the fishnet set up in the Liguasan Marsh.
Hernand Dapudong, a member of the municipal disaster risk reduction and management council, said the fishermen, led by a certain “Kap” would only turn over the reptile to authorities in exchange for P40,000 cash.
Under environmental laws, all endangered and protected species inadvertently caught from the wilds should be surrendered to the custody of environment officers.
Dapudong and town councilor Francis Biag tried but failed to convince the group to turn over the crocodile.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources still has to act on the problem, according to authorities.
Dapudong fears that the crocodile would die due to stress if it remains in the fishermen’s custody.