Two crocodiles cool off at Guangzhou's crocodile farm Guangdong Southern China as temperatures reached 39.1 degrees celcius (102 degrees fahrenheit) on Thursday, 15 July 2004. EPA-EFE FILE/PAUL HILTON

Over 70 crocodiles escape from farm in southern China amid heavy rains

Beijing, Sep 12 (EFE).- More than 70 crocodiles have escaped from a farm in southern China amid persistent rain, prompting authorities to restrict residents to their homes and ban fishing activities in the area, state media said on Tuesday.

The incident occurred in the city of Maoming in the southern Guangdong province, after severe rainstorms triggered flooding and damaged a farm, allowing 69 adult and six young crocodiles to escape from the facility, according to official daily Global Times.

Videos circulating on social media showed several crocodiles on the roads near a lake in the village of Peng, where the animals were being kept in a farm.

Local authorities have advised nearby residents to avoid the area and refrain from fishing activities as an operation to recapture the escaped animals was underway in the village.

Officials have stated that most of the crocodiles were currently in a nearby lake and they were employing sonar equipment to locate and capture the animals, with plans to euthanize them later out of security concerns.

According to Global Times, the adult crocodiles each weigh approximately 100 kilograms.

Authorities have implemented enhanced safety measures in the area, and no harm has been reported to local residents so far.

An employee from a nearby crocodile farm explained that the breeding area is usually secured by a 3-meter-high wall and a wire mesh.

However, heavy rains had led to flooding which compromised the farm’s defenses, allowing the reptiles to escape, he added.

Due to the effects of Typhoon Haikui, heavy rains in recent days have inflicted a significant damage on the rural areas in Maoming, where locals mainly rely on fishing, poultry and livestock farming for their livelihoods.

Haikui swept through southern China last week, claiming two lives and forcing the evacuation of more than 200,000 people while affecting over 1.6 million residents. EFE