Crocodiles have become a nightmare to residents of Maun and surrounding areas. Every day, there are complaints of a crocodile having attacked a child or livestock. The attacks have set crocodiles on a collision cause with humans. Senior Wildlife Warden, Israel Nato, has acknowledged that indeed crocodiles terrorize the area and pointed out that they received numerous reports of crocodile attacks.
Nato said that last year, 29 cases were reported to them and in these cases crocodiles had attacked children, goats, calves, sheep, and pigs. In the reported cases, 52 livestock were killed. “This year, 13 cases were reported and in these 21 livestock were killed,” he said
Nato noted that last year, three children aged between 13 to 15 years were attacked by crocodiles and they sustained serious injuries but none of them died. He explained that most of the victims are boys who swim in the river. “Last month a 13 year old boy was attacked by a crocodile and broke his left arm at Tsanakona farm but was rescued by friends who were swimming with him,” Nato stated.
According to Nato, the reptiles escaped from the Okavango Swamps Crocodile Farm in 2011 after floodwaters swept them into the Setatunga River, a tributary of the Thamakalane River. “More than 200 crocodiles were captured and returned to the farm. Those that were not captured were shot, about a 100 of them. This was done to reduce conflict as they had already resorted to killing and eating livestock. The shooting was, however, stopped after concerns that the ammunition might contaminate the river and endanger not only the river system but also residents of Setatunga and Tsanakona settlements who rely on it for their water supply,” explained Nato.
Further, Nato explained that crocodiles that were left in the streams have multiplied and they are the ones that terrorize communities. “Remember that these crocodiles used to live in farms where they were fed, now they have to fend for themselves,” he said .
The senior wildlife warder noted that to mitigate they capture the crocodiles and take them to Moremi Game Reserve. “We do this with the help of private researchers, Okavango Rislar Research, and Lethaka Safaris. The aim is to reduce crocodile numbers to avoid conflict,” he said.