Half-eaten man found at crocodile farm

Posted at 11/06/12 9:09 PM

MANILA - The body of a man half-eaten by saltwater crocodiles has been found at a Philippine breeding farm for the giant reptiles, police said Tuesday.

Employees found the 57-year-old victim in a pond used by the crocodiles, which can grow up to 4.3 metres (14 feet) long, on Friday, police officer Lowell Neniza said.

Authorities had no idea how the man, named by police as jobless Sorbelo Sajona, entered the privately-owned farm, Neniza said.

While there was no sign of any other injuries, police have yet to officially conclude he was killed by crocodile bites, Neniza told AFP by telephone.

"There was no evidence of foul play, but the farm security guards told us they were clueless on how he got into the pond."

Sajona lived in a village about five kilometers (three miles) from the crocodile farm, Neniza said.

He was last seen drunk the previous day at the local cemetery, visiting the graves of his relatives like many other residents on All Saints' Day, he added.

Lerio Gaceta, administrative officer of J.K. Mercado and Sons Agricultural Enterprises, which runs the farm, said the company planned to issue a statement on the discovery of the body but refused to elaborate on the issue.

She said there were 2,800 Crocodylus porosus -- more commonly known as saltwater crocodiles -- on the farm, which exports the creatures' skins and sells the meat to local restaurants offering exotic cuisine.

The farm is in Santo Tomas, a rural town on the large southern island of Mindanao.