Pretoria, Jan 25: As 15,000-odd crocodiles at a farm in South Africa swam away during the recent floods and thousands are still unaccounted for, army personnel have been deployed to rescue stranded people from the voracious reptiles.
The gates of the Rakwena Crocodile Farm had to be opened as the entire region was inundated, the Beeld newspaper said. This allowed all the crocodiles inside the farm to escape.
Hundreds of them were later tracked down. A few had by then made their way towards the rugby field near a school that is situated 120 kms away from the farm.
The authorities at Rakwena are trying their best to seize the remaining crocodiles. Zane Langman, son-in-law of the farm's owner, noted that earlier the number of crocodiles in the Limpopo River was very small. "Now, there are plenty. We go catch them when farmers phone us and say crocs are around," he explained.
Since the Limpopo flows through Mozambique too, some of the reptiles could possibly have crossed over into the neighbouring country.
Once Langman received information from some persons who had clambered atop their garage after the vicinity got flooded. On reaching the spot, he saw that the crocodiles were "circling" the terrified residents.
AFP quoted police officials as saying that though no instances of crocodiles attacking humans have been reported so far, the army and the locals have been co-opted in their efforts to capture the reptiles which are yet to be traced.