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Floods Force Thais to Track Down Crocodiles in Bangkok Neighborhoods

  • Daniel Schearf

A man carries a crocodile on his shoulder after he and his team killed it at a flooded residential area in Bangbuatong district of Nonthaburi province, north of Bangkok, Thailand Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011.

A man carries a crocodile on his shoulder after he and his team killed it at a flooded residential area in Bangbuatong district of Nonthaburi province, north of Bangkok, Thailand Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011.

Thailand’s devastating floods swept over a third of the country in recent weeks, killing hundreds and turning hundreds of thousands into refugees fleeing inundated homes and swamped neighborhoods. As if that were not enough to contend with, authorities are searching for dozens of crocodiles that escaped flooded crocodile farms and are being spotted in parts of the Thai capital, Bangkok.

A team from Thailand’s Fisheries Department prepares their gear for a survey of a flooded neighborhood in west Bangkok. It includes hooks, nets, and an electronic stunning device.

Despite a meter of water, there is still electricity and people in their homes. Some stay to ward off thieves, but there are other kinds of intruders.

As the sun goes down, team leader Kamthon Suaroon and his crew prepare to go hunting. “We have just received the information from the people that the crocodile has escaped to this village," he said.

Kamthon says since the flooding, their three teams have caught nearly one hundred crocodiles outside Bangkok - most near the farms where they had escaped.

He says they caught about ten small crocodiles around Bangkok’s outskirts but none inside the city - until tonight. “We have information from another team, from Ram Intra Road, Ram Intra Road. We can catch one crocodile already," he said.

Kamthon says the other team found a Cayman between one and a half and two meters long, which he calls “not so big”.

The team will search other places tonight where they find tracks, but no crocodiles. Tomorrow, they will return with traps loaded with chicken to try to nab this neighborhood’s unwanted new resident.

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