Operations to recapture crocodiles from the Breede River after they escaped from a breeding farm in Bonnievale in March has been scaled down. The reptiles broke out when they discovered a weak spot in the perimeter fencing in one of the enclosures. It is unknown how many are still at large.
To date, 83 young Nile crocodiles were recaptured or euthanised since their escape. The reptiles range from 1.2m to 1.5m in length, and are believed to have slipped into the Breede River which is thick with dense brush making them more difficult to capture.
Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, confirmed that 51 crocodiles were euthanised and 32 were captured alive. Two more crocodiles are believed to remain at large.
“According to CapeNature, these two crocodiles have been spotted, but not yet been retrieved. No other sightings have been reported recently and the recent rains and flooding of the Breede River appear not to have had any impact on their movements,” said Bredell.
Even though the recapture operations have been scaled down, CapeNature will continue with at least one nightly river patrol per week with the aid of landowners.
“The investigation into the alleged transgressions of the facility owner is currently being concluded and a decision will be taken soon towards any further action against the owner.”
The breeding facility was inspected thoroughly by CapeNature and the enclosures have been secured according to fencing policy for crocodile facilities.
“I want to thank the teams on the ground who have worked hard over the past three months to recapture the animals. This includes teams from CapeNature and the Police diving unit as well as various landowners in the area,” concluded Bredell.
If you spot a crocodile, you are urged to contact the Bonnievale police station 023 616 8060. Residents are cautioned not to approach the reptiles.