27 crocodiles recaptured after mass escape into Breede River

Nile crocodile crocodylus niloticus on riverbank, animal park, Morocco

Twenty-seven crocodiles have been recaptured after they escaped from a breeding farm on the Breede River, CapeNature said on Thursday.

An unknown number of “sub-adult” Nile crocodiles escaped through a hole in a fence in Bonnievale on Wednesday. They are between 1.2m and 1.5m long.

“CapeNature is leading a collective effort with the facility owner, local land owners and the SA Police Service to recapture the escaped crocodiles,” said a CapeNature statement on Thursday. “To date, 27 crocodiles have been recaptured and returned to the facility.”

CapeNature CEO Razeena Omar said efforts include “setting up of humane trap cages with bait on the riverside of the Breede to attempt to recapture the remaining animals on the loose. Patrols on the river will be undertaken every night to catch these animals.”

Omar said an area 5km upstream towards Robertson and 5km downstream towards Swellendam was the focus of the search, and the public was urged to stay away from the river.

“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, who have set up a dedicated task team to deal with this incident,” said the CapeNature statement.

Earlier, Western Cape local government spokesperson James-Brent Styan said the crocodiles presented only “medium danger” because they are used to being fed and do not hunt.

“But they are wild and instinctive animals and, like all wild animals, always pose a danger to people,” he said.


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