Cape Nature staff set cage traps with a dead chicken to lure crocodiles that escaped on 5 March. (Jaco Marais/Gallo Images)
- An investigation into the escape of an unknown number of crocodiles from a Bonnievale farm got underway this week.
- However, there is no clear indication of when the investigation will conclude.
- As of Friday, 76 crocodiles had been captured, and 44 of those euthanised.
An investigation into the escape of an unknown number of crocodiles from a farm near Bonnievale got underway this week.
The investigation comes as authorities continue an operation to recapture the crocodiles, despite catching more than 70 in the last three weeks.
The sub-adult Nile crocodiles escaped from a facility outside Bonnievale in the Western Cape on 3 March. Most of them have since found their way to the Breede River, where night patrols take place daily in an attempt to recapture them.
The investigation started on Wednesday, but there was no clear indication of when it would be completed, said Cape Nature spokesperson Petro van Rhyn.
“The investigation was initiated on 24 March with a full inspection of the facility. The investigation is done in collaboration with the SAPS Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit and there is no indication when this will be completed,” she added.
The farm owner had been issued with an enforcement notice under the nature conservation ordinance, said Van Rhyn.
The details of the wildlife owner have not been released by Cape Nature due to an policy to only release the names of individuals who have appeared in court to “prevent bias and prejudice as it relates to ongoing investigations”.
However, the farm was identified as Jan Hoppie Crocodile Farm by IOL.
As of Friday, 76 crocodiles had been captured. Of those, 32 had been caught live and 44 were put down. Euthanising the crocodiles involved shooting them in the head at close range, News24 previously reported.
The cost of the recapturing operation, which will run until no more crocodiles are spotted in the river, is being covered by Cape Nature, the police and various landowners.
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