Life-size replica of ‘Lolong' newest M.O.A. attraction
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Source: Business Mirror By Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter
A MARSHLAND and crocodile-habitat exhibit featuring a life-size replica of “Lolong,” the saltwater crocodile that has been declared as the biggest crocodile in captivity by the Guinness Book of World Records, is the newest addition to the Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center (NFSDC) at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) in Pasay City.
The exhibit was unveiled on Thursday at the mall’s Music Hall, with over 500 students from Pasay City, including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, getting the first crack at viewing it for free.
Arturo Carballo, senior operations manager of the NFSDC, said the exhibit will be transferred to the NFSDC on Thursday, along with a lineup of new galleries that people can get an exclusive preview of in Discover the Science of Fun: A sneak peek to the new Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center. The NFSDC is also located at the MOA.
Carballo said the decision to pick Lolong as the main feature in the marshland theme, is consistent with the campaign of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) to conserve the country’s marshlands.
Lolong is currently under the care of the local government of Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. Carballo said it will cost those coming from Manila a lot of money for transportation, board and lodging to see the live crocodile, explaining the reason to make a replica of the close to 22-feet reptile. The replica’s gigantic size, the project proponents hope, would give viewers of the exhibit an idea of how big Lolong is.
A team from the National Geographic Channel, led by crocodile specialist Dr. Adam Britton, measured the crocodile in November. Lolong’s total body length is 6.17 meters or 20.24 feet. The previous largest crocodile on record was “Cassius Clay,” measuring 5.48 meters or 17.97 feet and captured in Australia.
Lolong belongs to the crocodylus porosus, one of two species of crocodiles found in the Philippines; the other one being the crocodylus mindorensis, the freshwater crocodile and endemic to Mindoro, hence the name.
A saltwater crocodile is aggressive and is believed to be man-eating.
According to Carballo, the exhibit is by far the biggest and most exciting attraction ever to be featured in the NFSDC.
He said that through the marshland and crocodile exhibit, Nido wishes to raise the level of public awareness about the importance of environmental protection and conservation of critical habitats such as marshlands.
It also hopes to give viewers a better understanding of the Philippine crocodiles and other information about the ecosystem and biodiversity of the marshes where they live.
The exhibit is in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute, according to Raymond Liboro, director for DOST-STII.
Uldarico Hermosura Jr., Scout master of the P. Burgos Elementary School based in Pasay City and concurrent district field commissioner of the Pasay City Council of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, said the exhibit underscored the need to protect the country’s environment and natural resources and even young boys and girls through the BSP could help by setting a good example to others.
He said members of BSP in Pasay were actively involved in various activities such as tree-planting, a reason why 19,572 scouts from 19 different public schools in Pasay came to witness the unveiling of the exhibit.
Fourteen-year-old John Chester E. Magramo, a third-year student at the Pasay City West High School, said that as Boy Scouts, they are taught to help care for the environment.
“We help conduct coastal cleanups and tree-planting activities,” he said.