An unknown number of crocodiles escaped from a commercial breeding farm in South Africa on Wednesday 3 March, sending the South African police on a crocodile hunt.
Young Nile crocodiles measuring 1.2-1.5 metres (four to five feet) long sneaked out of a farm in Cape Winelands, a district 150 kilometres (90 miles) east of Cape Town.
Police have set up a ‚Äúdedicated task team‚ÄĚ to deal with the escape, a government conservation department, CapeNature, said.
An operation is currently underway to track down the reptiles which are suspected to have found their way to the Breede River which runs in the vicinity.
The operation is being undertaken by Cape Nature, the South African Police Service (SAPS) as well as farm owners in the area. According to CapeNature, authorities are focusing on an area about 5km upstream towards Robertson and 5km downstream towards Swellendam for surveillance and capture.
James-Brent Styan, the spokesman for Western Cape‚Äôs provincial environmental affairs ministry, told AFP the farmer on Wednesday morning ‚Äúrealised there was a hole in the fence and an unknown number of crocodiles had escaped.‚ÄĚ
Police, local nature authorities, landowners and the farmer have been searching around the Breede River, which runs close to the farm, he said.
Twenty-seven of the juvenile crocs have been recovered so far.
Recapture efforts entail setting up ‚Äúhumane trap cages‚ÄĚ on the river banks with bait inside to lure the animals, Razeena Omar, CEO of CapeNature, said.
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