Vietnamese farmers forced to secure crocs during floods

2011-11-04 09:39

Hanoi – Farmers in the Mekong Delta are keeping hundreds of crocodiles in their homes and boats to stop them escaping during heavy flooding, local media reported today.

High water levels have flooded cages and many families in Dong Thap province have been forced to keep the reptiles in flimsy tents on boats and in their homes, news site VNExpress quoted an official from the province’s Department for Agriculture and Rural Development as saying.

The official denied rumours that many animals had escaped during heavy floods which have killed over 70 people across the country.

One farmer in Binh Thanh district, Nguyen Van Duc, said the water was so high he was keeping 300 baby crocodiles in a boat under a makeshift tent.

His family was guarding the boats day and night to prevent the animals escaping and to stop thieves, he said.

“Each reptile costs nearly 1 million dong (R393) so if I lose them it would cost me a lot of money.”

Earlier this week officials from the Forest Protection Department in An Giang province discovered three crocodiles weighing 12kg to 30kg being kept with no cage on the floor of a house.

The owner said he was afraid the animals would escape in high waters if he kept them outside.

Crocodile farming is popular in Vietnam, with tens of thousands of animals raised for their meat and skin.

In 2007, hundreds of crocodiles, some weighing up to 250kg, escaped when flood water knocked down a fence at a farm in central Vietnam. 

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