A number of crocodiles have escaped from a commercial farm near Bonnievale in the Western Cape on Wednesday 3 March, with authorities and environmental departments hard at work to recapture them.

The crocodiles managed to break free from their holding camps in the morning, and despite some 25 crocs having been recovered and safely returned to the farm, various law enforcement agencies will continue to patrol parts of the Breederiver near the farm to ensure that the “unknown number” of escaped animals are also rounded up. 

‘Approximately 25 crocodiles recaptured’ – SAPS 

South African Police Service (SAPS) joined the rescue mission coordinated by Cape Nature and farm owners in the area on Wednesday morning, with SAPS spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk saying that the crocodiles range in size from 1,2 metres to 1,5 metres in length.

“On Wednesday at approximately 7:00, the owner of a crocodile (commercial) facility upstream of Bonnievale town discovered some crocodiles had escaped from one of the holding camps within the facility,” he said.  “Approximately 25 crocodiles were re-captured during the course of the morning.”

Van Wyk said that some individual crocodiles managed to enter the Breede River, with banks situated approximately 300 meters from the breeding facility. 

“Cape Nature provided trap cages to the owner, which has been positioned on the riverbank with bait, in an attempt to recapture the escaped individuals,” he said. “This will be increased with night patrols (police and CapeNature) on the river with spotlights, in order to locate any other individual crocodiles.”

He said that Bonnievale SAPS are urging any member of the community to contact the police immediately should any of the escaped crocodiles been noticed.

Environmental Affairs MEC urges caution

Local Government & Environmental Affairs MEC spokesperson, James-Brent Styan said that the public should refrain from swimming in the waters about 5km towards upstream towards Roberson and 5km the other way towards Swellendam for the next couple of days. 

He said that anyone who spots any of the loose crocs should immediately contact the authorities. 

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Presh JM Reporter

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