Bonnievale crocodile escape: 27 recaptured, but unknown number still at large
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Cape Town - About 27 young Nile crocodiles that escaped from a commercial breeding farm in Bonnievale in the Western Cape were recaptured.
This is according to CapeNature spokesperson Petro van Rhyn who provided an update on Thursday morning.
“Twenty-seven crocodiles have been captured since their escape from a breeding farm outside of Bonnievale on Wednesday morning.
“It is not known how many escaped in total. The juvenile crocodiles escaped through a wired fence which they managed to break through,” Van Rhyn said.
SAPS spokesperson FC van Wyk said the farm owner had become aware that some crocodiles escaped from one of the holding camps in the facility at around 7am on Wednesday - which coincidentally happened to be World Wildlife Day.
“The holding camp houses specimens all within the size of 1.2m to 1.5m length. It has been determined that some individual crocodiles managed to enter the Breede River, approximately 300 meter from the facility,” Van Wyk said.
Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell, said: “An unknown number remains at large and they have in all likelihood found their way to the Breede River, which runs in the vicinity.
“The crocodiles 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.”
Bredell explained they were focusing their attention on an area about 5km upstream towards Robertson and 5km downstream towards Swellendam.
CapeNature and their partners will also 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.
Van Wyk said: “CapeNature provided trap cages to the owner, which have been positioned on the riverbank with bait, in an attempt to recapture the escaped individuals. This will be increased with night patrols on the river with spotlights, in order to locate any other individual crocodiles.”
Bredell and Van Wyk urged people who spotted a crocodile, not to approach it but to alert Bonnievale SAPS immediately on 023 616 8060.