Three men were arrested in South Africa for stealing a large crocodile
Police say they have arrested three men in South Africa for stealing a 2.5-meter (8-foot) long Nile crocodile worth about $1,300 from a farm in the Western region – north
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Three men have been arrested in South Africa for stealing a 2.5-meter (8-foot) long Nile crocodile worth about $1,300 from a farm in the North West region, police said Monday.
The men, who are all aged between 20 and 35, are believed to have used a pickup truck to take the animal from a crocodile farm in the Hartbeesfontein area about 200 kilometers (124 miles) west of Johannesburg.
The crocodile was found tied up with rope and wire in an abandoned farmhouse. The men covered him with tree branches to try to hide, the police said. Police also found the pickup truck. The men were arrested last week and are expected to appear in court on Monday.
Police are investigating how they managed to get the large crocodile out of the farm, which had secure fencing, said police spokeswoman, Colonel Adele Myburgh.
“How did they slip this animal out?” she said, “It’s not a baby crocodile by any means.”
Myburgh said the crocodile was severely dehydrated when it was found by a team of police officers and animal conservation officers.
The crocodile “has been returned to its rightful owner,” police said, releasing a photo of it swimming in its pool on the farm.
While South Africa has a problem with poaching, crocodiles are not usually targeted due to their dangerous nature.
Myburgh said that the reason for the theft was still being investigated but that parts of a crocodile’s body such as the skin, nails and teeth are valuable and the men may have intended to kill the animal and sell its parts.
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