A bask of juvenile Nile crocodiles managed to escape from a commercial breeding farm in Bonnievale, Western Cape on Wednesday morning [March 3], causing chaos as they dashed from the murky waters.
According to Cape Nature spokesperson Petro van Rhyn, the animals escaped their holding cages through the wired fence that they broke through.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) initially reported that 25 crocodiles were captured and returned to the farm soon after their break. However, some managed to evade capture and entered the nearby Breede River. CapeNature provided traps to the farm owner to place along the riverbank to recapture the escapees.
Thus far, law enforcement teams have captured a total of 27 crocodiles. It is not yet known how many escaped in total. An unknown number remains at large and have in all likelihood found their way to the Breede River which runs in the vicinity.
“An area about 5km upstream towards Robertson and 5km downstream towards Swellendam is the key area for surveillance and capture. The public is urged to stay clear of this part of the river. Landowners and community members on the riverbank have been informed of the situation,” said CapeNature in a statement.
“The crocodiles vary in size from 1.2m to 1.5m and present medium danger to people because they are farmed animals, used to regular feeding and therefore do not hunt for their food. But they remain wild and instinctive animals and do pose a danger to the public,” reads a statement from the Western Cape government.
The public is urged to not attempt to approach any crocodiles, but to immediately report any sightings to the Bonnievale SAPS on 023 616 8060 which set up a dedicated task team to deal with this incident.