7 crocodiles euthanised as authorities ramp up efforts to capture those on the loose in Western Cape

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Authorities set traps of the crocodiles.
Authorities set traps of the crocodiles.
Western Cape government
  • According to CapeNature a further seven crocodiles had to be euthanised last night, while six more were spotted but have not been recaptured yet.
  • CapeNature and the search party partners were left with no choice, but to euthanise seven of the crocodiles spotted.
  • CapeNature says the overgrown river and dense vegetation on the riverbanks also make it very difficult to recapture the crocodiles.

The search for an unknown number of Nile crocodiles that managed to escape from a breeding facility in Bonnievale has now forced the search party to euthanise the escaped crocodiles.

According to CapeNature, a further seven crocodiles had to be euthanised last night, and six more were spotted but could not be recaptured.

Police have provided four boats and eight police divers to assist in the nocturnal patrols searching for the escaped animals.

Although several trap cages with bait were put out in a first attempt to recapture the animals, this method proved to be less effective since the escaped animals have access to an abundance of food in the river.

CapeNature says the overgrown river and dense vegetation on the riverbanks also make it very difficult to recapture these crocodiles.

READ | Hunt for crocodiles continue in W Cape as conservationists join search party

Being nocturnal animals, the best time to search for them is at night, which brings its own challenges in terms of visibility.

CapeNature and the search party partners say they were left with no choice, but to euthanise seven of the crocodiles spotted.

Although crocodiles are indigenous to South Africa, they are not part of the natural fauna of the Western Cape.

CapeNature CEO Razeena Omar said: "CapeNature regards the safety of the surrounding community first and foremost, which further accentuates the urgency of the recapturing of these wild animals. The situation remains fluid and the recapturing techniques have to be effective in the best interest of public safety."

She said she was saddened by the extreme measures the operation now requires.

READ ALSO | Oh croc! Frantic search on to recapture crocodiles that escaped from Western Cape farm

"The onus remains on wildlife owners to strictly adhere to permit regulations. A thorough investigation will be led by CapeNature to ascertain whether there was a breach in complying to the regulations which could have resulted in the escape of these young crocodiles."

The area approximately 5km upstream towards Robertson, and 5km downstream towards Swellendam, remains the key area for surveillance and capture. The public has been urged to stay clear of this part of the river.

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