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Crocodile attacks in Limpopo over the years

The croc-infested river that villagers use to fetch water and to do their laundry. Pictures by Bhekikhaya Mabaso.

The croc-infested river that villagers use to fetch water and to do their laundry. Pictures by Bhekikhaya Mabaso.

Published Jan 18, 2022

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The croc-infested river that villagers use to fetch water and to do their laundry. Pictures by Bhekikhaya Mabaso.
The controversial dam that was built at a cost of millions of rands to serve the villagers. Pics by Bhekikhaya Mabaso.
The villagers were promised running water when the dam was built, but are now struggling to access a regular supply of clean water. Pics by Bhekikhaya Mabaso.

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CROCODILE attacks are not a new thing in Limpopo province. Over the years, there have been numerous incidents, resulting in several people being killed and others scarred for life. Lizzy Humbelani Mudzanani's death earlier this month has reminded the world just how deadly these creatures can be.

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A research paper that looks at crocodile attacks in South Africa and Eswatini between 1949 and 2016, paints a scary picture.

The paper – by Simon Pooley, Hannes Botha, Xander Combrink and George Powell, published in 2019 – looked at 214 attacks over this period.

It found that most occurred in natural water bodies, with attacks in dams increasing since 2000. It further found that most victims were attacked while swimming or bathing, followed by fishing, doing domestic chores and crossing rivers.

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It also found there was a strong relationship between crocodile attacks and the season, following fluctuations in average monthly rainfall and average monthly minimum temperature.

A total of 190 of the recorded attacks included mention of what the victim was doing at the time. Of these, 31% were attacked while swimming or bathing; 22% while fishing; 18% while doing domestic chores at the water's edge; 16% while crossing a body of water; and, 13% while engaged in other activities in or close to the water.

Below is a timeline of some of the attacks over the past seven years.

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January 2016

Kelly Traueinicht bitten on the arm while fishing at Selati River. She survived

November 2017

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A 52-year-old killed at Mitshindudi River

March 2018

Young boy attacked and killed at Mutale River

December 2018

11-year-old killed while doing laundry at Damani Dam

October 2019

Mavis Mohlala died in hospital after an attack at Olifants River.

November 2019

Talane Leshaba survived an attack at Olifants River

January 2021

Zimbabwean national killed by crocodiles near Beitbridge as he tried to enter SA

February 2021

Isaac Makhado killed following an attack at Tshino-Hamangilasi Dam

January 2022

Lizzy Humbelani Mudzanani killed while washing clothes in the Nandoni dam.

Sunday Independent

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environment

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