South African police on Thursday were on a crocodile hunt after an unknown number of reptiles escaped from a commercial breeding farm in the south of the country, conservation officials said.
Young Nile crocodiles measuring 1.2-1.5 metres (four to five feet) long sneaked out of a farm in Cape Winelands, a district 150 kilometres (90 miles) east of Cape Town.
Police have set up a “dedicated task team” to deal with the escape, a government conservation department, CapeNature, said.
James-Brent Styan, the spokesman for Western Cape’s provincial environmental affairs ministry, told AFP the farmer on Wednesday morning “realised there was a hole in the fence and an unknown number of crocodiles had escaped.”
Police, local nature authorities, landowners and the farmer have been searching around the Breede River, which runs close to the farm, he said.
Twenty-seven of the juvenile crocs have been recovered so far.
Recapture efforts entail setting up “humane trap cages” on the river banks with bait inside to lure the animals, Razeena Omar, CEO of CapeNature, said.
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