Thousands of crocs loose in South Africa
Farmers have managed to recapture some crocodiles, but many thousands more are still missing after they escaped from a crocodile farm during widespread flooding.PT0M50S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2dczi 620 349 January 26, 2013
A MASSIVE operation to round up thousands of escaped crocodiles has intensified in flood-soaked South Africa.
''A thousand have already been caught,'' a police spokesman, Hangwani Mulaudzi, said on Friday.
South African media said about half of the 15,000 reptiles at the Rakwena Crocodile Farm in the far north of the country had escaped last Sunday amid torrential downpours.
The owners were forced to open the gates to prevent a storm surge.
The animals have scattered far and wide making the recapture operation more tricky. One croc was found next to a mall in the town of Musina, 120 kilometres away.
Disaster managers brought in to help the operation stressed there was little risk of crocodile attacks, especially with a small army working to round up the rogue reptiles.
''It's not something we should all worry about,'' said a spokeswoman, Dieketseng Diale. ''It's like Crocodile Dundee down here.''
Efforts to capture the carnivores are taking place mostly at night, when their red eyes can be spotted with a light. A farm spokesman, Zane Langman, told the television channel eNCA most were small and easy to catch. ''The majority are 2.5 metres and less, so … we just basically jump on their backs and tie them up, load them up and taking them back to enclosures.''
The bigger ones were trickier. ''We tie straps around their mouths … then tie the legs behind the back, inject them with a solution that's basically a muscle-relaxant.''
But experts said some of the crocodiles would escape capture.
''Realistically, the chances of capturing them all are extremely slim,'' said the Australian zoologist Adam Britton, known for appearing on the Discovery Channel series Face Off.