More than 70 crocodiles on the loose after flooding in China

Deluges around the southern city of Maoming cause a lake at a commercial crocodile farm to overflow.

A crocodile lies close to the edge of the water at the Dubai Crocodile Park in Dubai
Crocodiles are bred in China for their skin and meat [File: Rula Rouhana/Reuters]

Authorities in southern China have launched an operation to find more than 70 crocodiles that escaped when floods hit the region in recent days.

A typhoon brought sustained heavy rains to southern China last week. Deluges around the city of Maoming in Guangdong province caused a lake at a commercial crocodile farm to overflow with more than 70 crocodiles escaping, local media reported.

According to the reports, 69 adult crocodiles and six juveniles were on the prowl near the village of Peng Cun.

‘Crocodiles are still in the water’

A video published by the state-backed Beijing News showed emergency responders in red uniforms searching flooded fields in rescue boats.

Other images showed several 2-metre-long (6.5-foot-long) crocodiles lying on the road, their jaws bound with red tape.

“Crocodiles are still in the water, and several government departments are working to catch them,” state-affiliated China National Radio (CNR) reported, citing the local agriculture bureau.

“The specific situation is still under investigation, … [including] the specific number of crocodiles,” CNR said.

Crocodiles are bred in China for their skin and meat, which is sometimes used in traditional medicine.

The stricken area is also home to a crocodile theme park and the country’s largest crocodile breeding centre, according to CNR.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies