South African police join hunt for 10,000 crocodiles on the loose
Officers, crocodile farmers and locals attempt to trap reptiles that were washed into the Limpopo river during flood
South Africa has called out the police to join the hunt for as many as 10,000 crocodiles on the loose after they escaped from a farm during floods and were washed into one of southern Africa’s biggest rivers.
Crocodile farmers, locals and police have trapped thousands of the reptiles, using plastic bands to tie their legs behind their backs and then piling them into pick-up trucks.
The flood gates at the Rakwena Crocodile Farm, close to the Botswana and Zimbabwe borders, were opened on Sunday because it was feared that rising flood waters would crush the reptiles, but this released some 15,000 crocodiles into the Limpopo river.
“At night-time we have more success. It is much easier to see them,” said Zane Langman, whose in-laws own the farm, on news channel ENCA.
Most of the crocodiles are under two metres (79 in) long. The area is home to several farms that supply crocodile skins to the fashion industry.
“We are working as a team with the stakeholders,” said police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi. There have been no reports of injuries caused by the escaped reptiles.
Police in Zimbabwe, on the other side of the Limpopo, also issued warnings to people to avoid going into the water because of the crocodile threat.
Heavy rains and flooding have claimed at least 20 lives in Mozambique and South Africa, and led to the evacuations of thousands.