On Wednesday the Western Cape Government announced that a large number of young crocodiles managed to escape from a commercial breeding farm located in Bonnievale.
Spokesperson James-Brent Styan said that a collaborative operation between Cape Nature, landowners in the area, the breeding farm owner and the police led to the recapture of 20 young Nile crocodiles.
Styan says a large number is still at large and have most likely started finding their way to the Breede River.
“The crocodiles vary in size from 1.2m to 1.5m and present medium danger to people because they are farmed animals, used to regular feeding and therefore do not hunt for their food. But they remain wild and instinctive animals and do pose a danger to the public,” Styan says.
The minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, has appealed to people living in Bonnievale and the surrounding areas to avoid the Breede River for a few days and look out for the crocodiles that have escaped.
“An area about 5km upstream towards Robertson and 5km downstream towards Swellendam is the key area. CapeNature and their partners will continue to search for the animals and have set a number of humane traps with bait to attempt to recapture the animals that remain on the loose. Patrols on the river will be undertaken every night to catch these animals,” Bredell says.
If people come across a crocodile, they are implored to avoid approaching it and rather notify the authorities.