Water stuggle led by Eugene Ellis our Maintainance manager and Neal Martin our Reptile Curator. Pic handout

Cape Town - A team of Cape reptile lovers have landed a catch of crocs that even the famed Aussie Crocodile Dundee would have been proud of.

The tale begins at the time of heavy floods on the Garden Route some years ago, probably in 2006, when it is said baby crocs escaped from a hatchery on a croc farm.

Since then, locals have been spotting the prehistoric creatures in the Little Brak and Brandwag area, outside Mossel Bay.

An organisation named the South Cape Hunters and Conservation Society members monitored the crocs over a three-month period. CapeNature then approached the local Cango Wildlife Ranch for help.

The tourist attraction’s spokeswoman, Tammy Moult, reported: “We agreed to capture as many crocodiles as possible, and assist in distributing them to like-minded facilities.”

The total number of crocodiles that escaped is unknown. However, it has been confirmed that there are still a large number of crocodiles – ranging from 1m to 3.5m – in the rivers.

In December, Cango Wildlife Ranch’s managing director, Andrew Eriksen, and a team of 11 staff set out for an adventurous croc-wrangling day in the Brandwag area.

“Their mission was to capture all the estimated 500 crocodiles,” Moult said. “The crocs ranged from a mere 75cm to over 3m in length. Our experienced team left no leaf unturned and managed to capture a whopping 494 crocodiles in just one day.”

She reported that CapeNature had approved the removal of the crocodiles, the goal being to avoid any incidents or possible attacks, making the area safe for the families who live there.

“Four of the largest crocodiles captured now find sanctuary in our Jumping Jaws exhibit, while the rest were transported to a crocodile farm near Bela Bela in Limpopo. A successful day was had – luckily with more sweat than blood and tears. Our team was key in making the area safe for locals – and, most importantly, we saved nearly 500 crocodiles from slaughter by local farmers,” Moult said.

Cape Argus