South African police are looking for a group of young crocodiles who escaped from a breeding farm for crocodile leather, authorities said on Thursday.
An unknown number of young Nile crocodiles broke free from a commercial breeding farm in Bonnievale in the Cape Winelands District. The crocodiles were being held captive to be killed for their skin to make leather products.
James-Brent Styan, the spokesman for Western Cape’s provincial environmental affairs ministry, told AFP the farmer on Wednesday morning “realized there was a hole in the fence and an unknown number of crocodiles had escaped.”
The young crocodiles made their way into the Breede River which is close to the farm. Police, landowners and conservation officials are trying to capture the animals to lock them up again to be killed.
They’re using trap cages on the river bank with bait inside to lure the animals. “We’ve captured 26 at this point, but I can’t say how many are still on the loose,” Petro van Rhyn, a spokeswoman for the governmental conversation agency CapeNature, said.
The escaped crocodiles are 1.2 and 1.5 meters (four to five feet) in length, authorities said.
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