The NSPCA Wildlife Protection Unit (WPU) received a distress call regarding abandoned crocodiles at a wildlife lodge. We were informed that these crocodiles were deprived of food and water, with the dam on the property being bone dry. In response, National Inspectors were dispatched to assess the situation.
Upon arrival, it became evident that there was no owner or caretaker on-site, as the owner was reportedly in Denmark. Shockingly, the person hired to care for the crocodiles had ceased receiving payment, leaving the reptiles in a dire state of neglect.
The Inspectors discovered the crocodiles living in squalid conditions, particularly concerning given the extreme 49°C temperature on the day of inspection. The absence of water exacerbated their distress. Despite breeding being unauthorised on the farm due to the lack of permits, hatchlings were found in an inadequate enclosure. The water dam for the hatchlings was empty, and an alternative water source was contaminated with thick slime and algae, making it unsuitable for the crocodiles.
Taking swift action, WPU inspectors, alongside a Trainee Inspector from the Phalaborwa SPCA, cleaned the hatchling dam, providing fresh water and food. Simultaneously, the Phalaborwa SPCA team refilled the dam for the larger crocodiles. NSPCA inspectors secured food for the crocodiles from another farm.
Recognising the urgency of the situation, the crocodiles were signed over to the NSPCA, and essential permits and warrants were obtained. A veterinarian was engaged to unfortunately euthanise eight severely compromised crocodiles, to prevent further horrendous suffering.
One crocodile, who burrowed into hiding, currently remains on the farm. The NSPCA is providing feed and is consulting the attending veterinarian to assist.
The NSPCA our expresses our gratitude for being alerted to this distressing scenario, allowing us to intervene. Our commitment extends beyond popular or admired animals, advocating for the protection of all animals.