Earlier this month a number of crocodiles, ranging in size from 1.2m to 1.5m, managed to escape from a farm in Bonnievale, Western Cape, before making their way into the Breede River. Now, it looks like we finally have an update on how the recapture operation is going.
According to the Western Cape Government, a total of 66 young Nile crocodiles have been recaptured or euthanised in the ongoing operation in Bonnievale. At last count 34 crocodiles have been euthanized and 32 have been recaptured.
Anton Bredell, the minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says CapeNature has already started with an investigation into the escape of the animals. This would include determining whether the crocodile owner was in breach of any of the permit regulations. The crocodiles reportedly managed to escape from the farm by making their way through a hole in a fence that enclosed the camp they were kept in.
CapeNature is still actively trying to track down any missing crocodiles, although efforts are slow, as overgrown and dense vegetation makes locating the animal extremely difficult.
“The traps remain in place and the patrols will continue until further notice. I want to thank the various roleplayers who mobilized immediately to assist in the operation to recapture the crocodiles. In particular, I want to thank the South African Police and the Police Diving Unit, the various landowners in the area and CapeNature and its officials under the leadership of Dr Ernst Baard and Corne Claasen who have led tirelessly from the front,” said Bredell.
Officials urge anyone who might come across one of the missing animals not to approach it. Instead, they should alert the authorities immediately by contacting -023 616 8060- which is the number for the Bonnievale Police.