Tragedy befell a family in the Southern Philippines when a crocodile snatched their 10-year-old son from a boat and ate him alive in front of his siblings.
The boy was reportedly inside a boat with his two older siblings near the town of Balabac – an area notorious for attacks by crocodiles, when he was grabbed by the crocodile.
Balabac, which lies at the extreme western tip of the country is one of over 7,000 islands that form the Philippine archipelago. It is an extension of the Palawan province, which has been called the Philippines’ ‘Last Frontier’. Balabac is about 100 km north of the East Malaysian island called Banggi with the South China Sea to the west and the Sulu Sea to the east.
The area is home to rare indigenous plant and animals including the saltwater crocodile that can grow as large as 6 meters (20 ft) making it one of the world’s largest reptiles areas, according to reports.
The saltwater predators’ shrinking habitat is leading to increased confrontation between the animals and humans, authorities in the Philippines said.
The boy’s father could not find his son during an overnight search. His partially eaten remains were found the following day, late Monday, in a mangrove swamp in the southern Philippines by a fisherman, according to Police.
This incident is the latest of frequent reports of Filipinos eaten by crocodile.
Jovic Pabello, a spokesperson for a government council that works to conserve the environment of the Palawan island group said;
“Since 2015, we’ve never had a year with zero (crocodile) attacks.” Pabello described the attacks as “a conflict on water use.”
In February a 12-year-old boy was grabbed by a crocodile as he swam in the Balabac river, but he managed to escape when his friends beat the animal’s head with oars until it released the boy.
In another 2018 attack, a crab fisherman was killed and partially eaten by a saltwater crocodile just three months after his 12-year-old niece was dragged away and never seen again, presumably consumed by the large reptile.
The photo above shows the moment a 21-feet (6.4 metres) saltwater crocodile, suspected to have attacked several people Filipinos, was caught in Nueva Era in Bunawan town, Agusan del Sur, southern Philippines September 4, 2011. The crocodile captured on Sunday evening weighs more than 1000 kg and is the largest crocodile caught in the Philippines to date, according to the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center. Picture taken September 4, 2011