‘Hundreds’ of killer crocodiles on the loose after mass breeding farm escape

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Hundreds of crocodiles are believed to be on the loose after a mass breakout from a breeding farm in South Africa.

The man-eating reptiles made an alarming bid for freedom after escaping the commercial farm in the Western Cape province on Friday and dashing to Breede River.

Reports claim that so far just 40 had been accounted for, with 27 seized and seven put down. A further six have been spotted, but evaded capture.

However, exactly how many of the crafty crocs, believed to be up to 1.5 meters (4ft 11) in length, escaped from the farm, which breeds about 5,000, remains unclear.

Petro van Rhyn, of Cape Nature conservation spokesperson said recovery teams at the form, near Bonnievale, 111 miles east of capital Cape Town, was still counting the total number of escapees, according to German news website DW.com.

"Is it 100 or is it 1,000?" she said. "We don't know.

She added that conservation officers were trying to lure the semiaquatic reptiles into cages, but had so far struggled due to the abundance of available prey living in the river.

Police and Cape Nature teams are said to believe the fearsome predators may have moved three miles in either direction from their escape point.

Van Rhyn urged locals to be vigilant, but stressed that the threat of an attack on a human was "highly unlikely".

However, she advised people not to enter the river while the crocodiles remained at large.

"Obviously, they are very dangerous," she said. "These are wild animals even though they've been in captivity."

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"People must not approach them and stay clear of the river until all are captured."

A statement from Camp Nature added: “The overgrown river and dense vegetation on the riverbanks also make it very difficult to recapture these crocodiles.

“Being nocturnal animals, the best time to search for them is at night, which brings its own challenges in terms of visibility.

“As time is of the essence, CapeNature and the search party partners were left with no choice but to euthanise seven of the crocodiles spotted.

"Though crocodiles are indigenous to SA, they are not part of the natural fauna of the Western Cape.”

  • Animals

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