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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thousands of Crocodiles on the Loose!

Captured Croc - Rakwena Crocodile Farm
One of the captured crocodiles
Photo: Nicolene Olckers
Thousands of crocodiles that were washed away during this week’s freak floods at Pontdrift in Limpopo are still on the loose in and around the Limpopo River.

Now the owner of the Rakwena Crocodile Farm fears they might attack refugees from Botswana and Zimbabwe who cross the river every day.

Johan Boshoff was dismayed when he told City Press that 15 000 of his crocodiles had been washed down-river, released because of the rapidly rising water level.

He said he had never seen anything like it in his 18 years of crocodile farming.

“We had floods in 2000, but it wasn’t nearly as bad. We expected it, because we saw the water levels of the river rising. On Saturday the river came down quickly.

“There was no time to save valuables. My family and I had to find shelter on the hill, because our house was 2m under water. I had to use my boat to save the farm workers who were sleeping on the roofs of their houses,” he said.

Boshoff said although he was worried about the crocodiles, he was more worried about those crossing the river and those who live close to the banks.

Musina police also expressed similar concerns.

Lieutenant Peter Madua, the Musina police spokesperson, said they were particularly concerned the crocodiles would attack refugees from Zimbabwe and Botswana.

“We are monitoring the situation closely. There have fortunately not been any incidents of the crocodiles attacking people yet. The owners of the farm are working every day to catch the crocodiles.”

When City Press visited the farm, workers caught three crocodiles. Nine men had to carry a single crocodile to its cage. One of the farm workers said it is very difficult to catch a crocodile.

He explained: “A crocodile is very strong. You have to paralyse it with a stun gun, otherwise you’ll never catch it.

“There’s no other way. If you try to jump on it and catch it, it will bite you and tear you to shreds. When it is stunned, we bind its mouth with rope or tape,” he said.

- Vania van der Heever (City Press)

See also: South African crocodiles hunt 'continues by night' (BBC News Africa)

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