|Government workers catch a crocodile that escaped from a farm damaged by flooding in Shantou, Guangdong. Yang Lixuan for China Daily|
The search is continuing for several crocodiles that escaped from a farm destroyed by floods in Shantou, Guangdong province, local authorities said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 20 crocodiles had been caught but around four were still at large, according to Chen Chuken, a media official with the district.
The walls of the privately owned crocodile-breeding farm in the district’s Longtian township collapsed on Sunday morning due to flooding triggered by Typhoon Utor, according to Chen.
The escape provoked concern among local residents, with rumors circulating on the Internet that two people had been bitten.
“Some people saw crocodiles resting or swimming in the flooded river. We are so scared,” said a resident surnamed Huang.
However, Chen said that there had been no confirmed reports of any attacks on humans.
The owner of the farm, surnamed Zhou, told the Southern Metropolis Daily that there were three layers of concrete walls around the farm, with the highest about 2.3 meters tall.
“But the water level rose very quickly. And the flow of torrential water destroyed the wall,” Zhou said.
According to Zhou, some 14,300 crocodiles are living on the farm and all are of the Crocodylus siamensis species, which can reach 500 kilograms in weight and 3 meters in length.
“We have reported the situation to the police and the flood control and disaster relief authority. The local government has organized some 20 workers to capture the escaped crocodiles,” Zhou said.
He said that local farmers have joined the authorities in searching for the escaped animals.