Malawi & Kenya act against substandard crocodile farms
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:
LILONGWE, Malawi; NAIROBI, Kenya––The Lilongwe SPCA,
Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, the Malawi Department of Animal Health
Livestock Management, and local police on November 8, 2013 confiscated
more than 200 crocodiles from the Koma Crocodile Farm at Monkey Bay,
Mangochi, and filed cruelty charges against the owner.
“There was no food or water for the crocodiles, their cages
had very little shade, and all the ponds were dry,” Lilongwe SPCA
director Richard Ssuna told Sophie Gomani of the Malawi News Agency.
Opened in 1988, the Koma Crocodile Farm was originally a
tourist attraction. “People used to come here to see the majestic
crocodiles, but now, due to the animals’ poor health and living
conditions, many people prefer to go to other crocodile farms,”
manager Macdadly Chiwaya told Gomani. Chiwaya admitted that 15
crocodiles had died on the farm due to starvation and dehydration since
Ssuna attributed the raid to the success of a national police
sensitization workshop held in 2011, sponsored by the Royal SPCA
International, a division of the Royal SPCA of Great Britain.
The raid in Malawi was followed a week to the day later by the
announcement of Kenya Wildlife Service senior warden for the Taita
region Samuel Rukaria that the crocodiles kept as a tourist attraction
at the privately owned Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary would be taken
into custody and relocated to a safer place.
Opened in 1972 by Hilton International, the Taita Hills
Wildlife Sanctuary is the major visitor attraction for the Sarova Salt
Lick Game Lodge and the Sarova Taita Hills Game Lodge, both now
operated by Sarova Hotels.
“Crocodile farming is not bad but it has to be done according
to our standards,” Rukaria told Raphael Mwadime of the Nairobi Star.
Bura Maktau ward representative Flumence Mshila told Mwadime
that “The reptiles are a threat to the security of Bura people. The
animals do not benefit them in any way but put their lives in danger,”
leaving their habitat during the rainy season and seeking a more
suitable place to live.
The actions in Malawi and Kenya came about a year after Metroc
Broedery crocodile farm owner Coen Labuscagne of Pongola,
KwaZulu-Natal, was fined the equivalent of $33,000 U.S. dollars by the
South African Department of Agriculture & Environment for housing
crocodiles in single pens shorter than the length of their bodies,
following an investigation by the National SPCA of South Africa.