Dozens of crocodiles have escaped from a breeding farm in southern China during flooding caused by Typhoon Haikui, Chinese authorities said.
Around 75 crocodiles made a break for it when a lake in Maoming, Guangdong province overflowed.
While some were recaptured, local authorities shot or electrocuted others “for safety reasons”.
Chinese state media report that eight reptiles have been rounded-up so far, leaving dozens at large.
Villagers close by have been told to stay at home.
Typhoon Haikui has been tearing across south Asia for more than a week, affecting China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.
Seven people have been killed and three others are missing in southern China following the typhoon – now downgraded to a tropical storm – which has caused landslides and flooding.
Sixty-nine adults and six juvenile crocodiles escaped following the floods, according to Maoming’s Emergency Management Bureau.
No casualties have been reported but officials admitted some of the reptiles are still in deep water. Emergency services have been using sonar equipment to find them.
“It is currently under control, but the number of crocodiles that escaped is a bit high,” a staff member at the district’s emergency bureau told Dazhong Daily, a state-run newspaper.
Most of the recaptured crocodiles have been shot to death, one firefighter told Chinese media.
They are said to be Siamese crocodiles, the Washington Post reports. These are freshwater reptiles that can grow to around 3m or nearly 10ft long, according to Crocodiles of the World, a UK zoo.
The average weight of the adult crocodiles that have been captured is about 75kg, and they measure more than 2m in length, the firefighter said.
Maoming in Guangdong province is home to a number of crocodile farms. They are bred for their skin as well as for meat
Source : BBC