Police in the southern province of Bac Lieu's Phuoc Long District have warned local people about a recent spate of thefts in which a reported 250 crocodiles went missing.
BAC LIEU – Police in the southern province of Bac Lieu's Phuoc Long District have warned local people about a recent spate of thefts in which a reported 250 crocodiles went missing.
The loss, estimated at VND 250 million (US$11,000), occurred over the past two weeks on local crocodile farms.
According to police, the situation was alarming in an area considered to be Viet Nam's crocodile farming centre, with more than 300,000 of the reptiles.
Many farmers in the province rear crocodiles without installing the correct farming facilities, safe cages or registering their activities with local authorities, who are worried that the dangerous animals may escape into local canals and rivers and harm people.
According to local farmers, most of the cases occurred between midnight and 3am when thieves were able to break in without waking the sleeping adults and steal the baby animals. They said most of crocodiles stolen were small, between 4-7 kg, making them less dangerous to capture.
Local crocodile farmers said it wasn't a new problem, but it was becoming more frequent, making them suspect organised crime is involved.
Bac Lieu provincial authorities are investigating the thefts and urging local farmers to build safer cages and pay better attention to the dangerous animals for the safety of themselves and others.
Two years ago, seven thieves were arrested for carrying out 14 thefts during which thousands of crocodiles were stolen. – VNS